Wednesday | December 13, 2017
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Leases set to expire

The land leases for Uncle Billy’s Hilo Hotel and the Country Club condominiums will expire next month unless the state Board of Land and Natural Resources approves an extension Friday.

The extensions will allow the Banyan Drive leases to last one more year followed by a month-to-month revocable permit.

The leases are set to expire March 14, and a longer extension is not being considered since the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is assessing whether the lands should be redeveloped.

An engineering report completed last year estimated the buildings had five to 10 years of useful life. That assessment estimated Reed’s Bay Resort Hotel, whose lease also was to expire on the same date, had a useful life of 12 to 15 years.

The board, which declined to provide Reed’s Bay a 15-year extension, approved a one-year extension for the hotel in December.

Aaron Whiting, Uncle Billy’s general manager, said he is hopeful the board will approve the extension but noted it remains unknown if the 51-year-old hotel will be open after another year.

“If that goes as planned, we will be here at least until March 2016,” he said.

Whiting said he could not comment on what the hotel, which employs about 35 people, is considering to do after that date.

Because of the uncertainty, the hotel had stopped taking reservations for dates after Jan. 31. Whiting said it changed that policy last month and is taking reservations for the rest of the year.

Richard Emery, Country Club-Hawaii managing agent, said condo owners have been informed of the situation with their master lease.

“We will have to enter into an extension with them as well,” he said, if the board approves the request.

The 148-unit condo building has faced financial difficulties during the last few years as it fell behind on utility and maintenance payments. Emery said a special assessment on condo owners was issued to deal with the delinquencies.

Meanwhile, the future of the three properties — Uncle Billy’s, Country Club and Reed’s Bay — remains unclear.

Russell Tsuji, DLNR land administrator, said it likely will be at least another year before recommendations on the future use of the properties will be made to the board.

He said the department will next hire an architecture team to analyze potential uses.

Email Tom Callis at


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