homepage logo

State ERS plans to bring new uses, vitality to Kaanapali Golf Courses

By Staff | Dec 8, 2016

Redevelopment of Kaanapali Golf Courses is sectioned into five different planning blocks located on both the makai and mauka sides of Honoapiilani Highway.

KAANAPALI – Applications to revamp the Kaanapali Golf Courses will be submitted to the county within the next few weeks.

Dated Oct. 26, the Revitalization Master Plan Project “not for distribution” and “subject to change” has been circulating among resort residents and stakeholders, landing on the desktop of the Lahaina News last week.

The drawing board scheme promises to alter the future face of the island’s first fully master planned destination resort developed in the early 1960s on the West Side.

The 27-page PDF is thorough in its description of the renovation of 305 acres of property encompassing 36 holes of golf.

“Revitalization is needed to keep Kaanapali competitive with other Maui, Hawaii-based and international visitor destination markets,” the Lowe Enterprises presentation reasoned.

The amenities at Kaanapali are aging.

The owner of Kaanapali Golf Courses is the State of Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System (ERS). Established in 1926, the ERS provides retirement, disability, survivor and other benefits for its more than 119,000 members, with one in four homes on Maui having an ERS member in-house.

Project manager is Lowe Enterprises, a diversified national real estate and hospitality company, with over 20 years of experience on Maui as Destination Residences Hawaii in Wailea.

The Lahaina News spoke with their marketing department at corporate headquarters in Los Angeles.

“As you know,” Jann Diehl stated, “we are consulting the ERS on a plan to bring new uses and new vitality to the Kaanapali Golf Courses,” she explained.

The idea is to convert portions of the existing 305 acres to other revenue-generating purposes to help sustain the long-term viability of the ERS.

Kaanapali Golf Courses currently has two 18-hole championship courses. The new vision is a 27-hole regulation championship facility and a nine-hole Par-3 layout.

Redevelopment is sectioned into five different planning blocks located on both the makai and mauka sides of Honoapiilani Highway.

Plans for Area One (North Ocean Site) include a 56-unit oceanfront/ocean view condominium complex; new oceanfront beach club and public signature restaurant; and conversion of golf into two Par-3 holes, extensively landscaped and waterscaped, as part of the Makai Course.

The Maui Eldorado beach cabana will be replaced to open up the view corridor.

The Makai Lagoon Site is designated as Area Two, featuring a 100-room boutique hotel, an 80,000-square-foot retail parcel and a new or remodeled golf clubhouse.

A nine-hole Par-3 golf facility, putting course and pavilion and family restaurant are the main elements of Area Three, the Makai South Site.

The Mauka South Residential Site, Area Four, consists of multi-family, ocean view residences.

Potential plans for the Area Five, Mauka North Site, consist of a new starter facility and pub with cart parking, a long-term alternative clubhouse location and the possible development of a quarry site as an event venue and/or related resort facilities.

The economic benefits projected by Lowe are in the millions.

The “$354 million construction investment will create an estimated 1,100 jobs over the development period,” including 750 jobs in the construction industry; 275 permanent new jobs in retail, restaurant, hotel and beach club operations; $1.2 million in annual General Excise Tax revenue; $800,000 in annual Transient Accommodations Tax revenue; and $4.1 million in new property tax revenue yearly.

It won’t happen overnight.

“We have met with dozens of community leaders, business organizations, homeowners’ associations and a host of other interested parties to review the draft plan. As these meetings continue, the comments and recommendations we receive are being considered and incorporated into the draft plan. We plan to continue meeting over the next four years of the entitlement process,” Diehl advised.

Approval and land use entitlements are part of the lengthy procedures, including an Environmental Impact Statement, West Maui Community Plan amendment, county change in zoning as applicable to achieve consistency with the community plan and county Special Management Area permitting.

These proceedings are anticipated to answer questions like workforce housing (the number of units subject to final development approval); increased density, if appropriate; and impacts on traffic, archaeological and cultural resources, economy and water, wastewater and drainage systems infrastructure.

There will be plenty of opportunity for the public to participate in official hearings.

In the meantime, community members have been tracking the project.

Dr. Gary Weiss wrote a letter in August to the Lahaina News with this caution: “I realize that these plans are years in the works, but the seeds are being planted each day. Now is the time for the community to take a stand. That means ensuring that mainland ideas do not influence our West Side Community Plan, which will be redone in the near future.”

Longtime Lahaina resident Penny Wakida is a 30-year veteran teacher at Lahainaluna High School. She retired in 2003.

“I am in the State Retirement System. I am part of the last group that the state still included in the old system,” she said.

Wakida is experienced in planning, having served on the influential Maui Planning Commission for a five-year term after her retirement.

“As a conservationist, I hate to see development; as a realist, development is inevitable but hopefully with control and good long-range planning.

“One of the major challenges,” Wakida continued, “will always be affordable housing for the workers. This development will pull more people from across the Pali, commuting every day. One help is a fleet of worker busses, so they can park and ride; and, I would expect whatever workforce housing is required to be built on the West Side.”

Wakida offered a potential local bonus in the revitalization vision.

“Now, if they decide to build a performing arts venue (indoor) that is available to the community for use and for peanuts, then that would have some real appeal,” she said.

Principal project advisors are planners Munekiyo Hiraga, civil engineers Belt Collins and traffic consultants Austin, Tsutsumi & Associates.

For questions, call Gwen Ohashi Hiraga or Gwendolyn Rivera at Munekiyo Hiraga at (808) 244-2015 or e-mail Ted Lennon (Lowe Enterprises) at Tlennon@loweenterprises.com.