|By Andrew Gomes, The Honolulu
Star-AdvertiserMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 26, 2011--Aâ€ˆdecade-old plan to build a hotel near Maui's main airport in Kahului is finally moving forward.
Participants in the venture led by Alexander &â€ˆBaldwin Inc. announced that construction is slated to begin next week on a 138-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel. Aâ€ˆgroundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for today.
The project has long been desired by tourism officials who lament the lack of visitor accommodations near the airport, Maui's commercial core and county government offices. But economic factors stalled development for several years.
A&B discussed the project publicly in early 2001, but after obtaining county approvals including a zoning change in 2002, the company declared in 2004 that it had deferred the project because of high construction costs.
Now A&Bâ€ˆsaid the timing is right to build the hotel, which is estimated to cost $16.5 million.
"The economy is coming back," Grant Y.M. Chun, vice president of the real estate subsidiary of A&B, said in a statement. "We are confident this hotel -- long anticipated, for sure -- will be a welcome and convenient option for short-term visitors from the neighbor islands, government officials desiring proximity to Wailuku offices and, quite possibly sports event or family reunion attendees."
Marriott expects the hotel will appeal to business guests, travelers and visitors interested in exploring Central and Upcountry Maui.
The four-story complex will include a business center, meeting rooms, a pool, fitness center, bar and lounge. The hotel also will include a guest laundry, surfboard storage and a convenience store.
The hotel will be the third Courtyard hotel in Hawaii. The others are in Waikiki and on Kauai. One is also planned for Laie. Overall, Marriott presently manages 14 hotel and time-share properties in Hawaii under the Courtyard and other brand names.
The Kahului hotel will be on a 3-acre site at the intersection of Dairy Road, Haleakala Highway and Keolani Place, which leads to the airport.
R.D. Olson Construction, an Irvine, Calif.-based firm that has built Marriott hotels, is the contractor for the Maui project. A&Bâ€ˆestimates that more than 50 jobs, including some for local subcontractors, will be needed to build the hotel.
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