Keauhou Beach hotel to undergo soft demolition

  • 5310948_web1_Cell-Tower_0012.jpg
  • 5310948_web1_Interior.jpeg
  • 5310948_web1_Kahalu-u-Ma-Kai-Blessing-Ceremony.jpg

KAILUA-KONA — The old Keauhou Beach Hotel is coming down.

ADVERTISING


KAILUA-KONA — The old Keauhou Beach Hotel is coming down.

Contractors have been assessing the property all week and Kamehameha Schools plans to commence demolition of the seven-story hotel, closed since 2012, early next week.

“We’re basically taking the first step and starting the interior demolition, or the soft demolition, which is starting this (Monday),” said Crystal Kua, senior communications specialist with Kamehameha Schools.

Soft demolition will entail gutting the structure’s interior, removing wood, plaster, glass and drywall. The hard demolition, or the removal of the structure itself, will begin once the State Historical Preservation Division approves the Archaeological Preservation Plan and Archaeological Monitoring Plan for the work.

Approval of those plans is required before Kamehameha Schools can apply for a permit to carry out the final stages of the hotel removal.

The Keauhou Beach Hotel was built in 1969 and was open for more than four decades before being shuttered in October 2012 after operating at a financial loss for several years. Bishop Holdings Corp., a subsidiary of Kamehameha Schools, purchased the property for $26.75 million in 2004, eight years before its closing.

Projections put the cost of the demolition at around $11.5 million. An environmental assessment released in June 2015 found the demolition, as planned, would cause no significant impact to the historic property on which the hotel sits — a finding as important to Kamehameha Schools as any other interested party.

“We held a blessing (Wednesday) to mark the next step of progression of not just bringing the hotel down, but standing this land up to become the education and cultural site that we want it to be,” said Kaimana Barcarse, West Hawaii regional director with Kamehameha Schools.

Barcarse described the blessing as a private, intimate ceremony including contractors, Kamehameha Schools leadership and the lineal descendants of the area, who shared their memories of the land before the hotel’s construction as well as their vision for the property into the future.

Kahaluu Ma Kai, an educational complex, will take the hotel’s place once its removal is complete.

“(The site) is a focus point of mana with an educational and spiritual essence. It will be a living, engaging site,” Barcarse said during an interview in March. “We want it to become like our Hawaiian university in West Hawaii.”

ADVERTISING


The area on which Kahaluu Ma Kai will operate was the longtime home of several heiau and will promote a focus on STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics — being taught through traditional Hawaiian activities.

“Known historically as an intellectual training ground for Hawaii’s leaders, Kahaluu Ma Kai supports our desire to bring together Ke Alii Pauahi’s land legacy and assets in West Hawaii, our educational mission and the community,” Barcarse said in a press release.