coco palms resort

Coco Palms Kauai Rebuild Starts Now | Unbelievable?

If you’re shaking your head in disbelief, you aren’t alone. Here comes Coco Palms 2026. Despite the horrendous traffic, eroded beach, plus development, cultural, and staffing concerns, redevelopment of the long-gone resort starts now.

Coco Palms demolition and construction to begin in April.

The Kauai resort where the rich and famous once played, including Elvis Presley and Blue Hawaii, will be demolished and then rebuilt by the new owners starting next month. In fact, we were told that the work could even begin as soon as next week.

Today the last tour of the grounds was conducted by Bob “Kauai” Jasper. He’s been leading tours for 27 years, and now at age 77 years, he’ll be looking for other things to do. Bob also is the administrator of the Coco Coco Palms Resort, Kauai Facebook Group.

The once beautiful resort is surrounded by new construction fencing but otherwise sits in shambles, essentially unchanged since Hurricane Iniki destroyed it in 1992.

The County of Kauai will not interfere.

The owners, Capital Partners, the Utah investment firm, will push forward without interference from the County of Kauai. And without regard to past or future protests against development and for a cultural venue to replace the long-failed hotel.

Once demolition ends and construction starts, the developer plans for a three-year completion time frame. Given how things work on Kauai, we’d say add a couple of years in all likelihood.

The builder was the prior lender on the property and later became the developer when the last developer defaulted on its debt. Reef Capital estimates the project cost at approximately $160M, which given the scope of work, at least to us, seems less than expected.

While there were indications that the owner was at one point planning to sell the property, which spawned hope for a cultural development, that failed to materialize.

The Kauai Planning Commission will apparently not stand in the way of the project so long as the planned work actually starts, which has to date never occurred. The Commission is operating on the belief that the permits, many of which date back to 2015, remain valid.

Awful traffic, eroded beach, development, staffing, and cultural concerns.

This comes at a difficult time for Kauai, which is visitor development adverse.

Not only that, but the resort sits on the spot of the very worst traffic on the entire island, which we previously referred to as the “Kapaa Crawl.” The traffic situation and the negative impact a 350-room hotel will have can’t be overstated. Just this week, we wrote about the Kauai traffic gridlock in that area, for which any remediation is many years away, if ever.

As many have pointed out, the beach fronting the hotel has suffered and has often been gone due to erosion.

And the location is deemed to be so historically and culturally significant that many believe it should not be allowed to become yet another hotel.

Lastly, finding staffing in Hawaii hospitality is challenging, and the problem appears to be getting worse, not better. Restaurants and other businesses have already closed as a result.

The resort will undoubtedly plan mitigation for all the above issues and more, but to what degree those efforts will be successful is highly doubtful.

We only learned of these new owners last summer.

The new Utah-based company was first revealed at a Planning Commission meeting last year. Reef Capital Partners announced the new company’s name as Coco Palms 2021. At the time, the owner’s representative said it was his first visit to Kauai. He also said that the company had not held any community meetings addressing public concerns about Coco Palms redevelopment. At the time, he indicated that all buildings would be taken to the ground within six months, which time has passed.

Will the building foundations still be preserved?

The developer’s representative also said last year that the building foundations below would be preserved as is. That dumbfounded some at the hearing as being impossible.

The 2022 Planning Commission meeting exploded in furor.

Many thought last summer that the Planning Commission would see fit to end the long-delayed, and some believed no longer valid permits. However, the commission clarified that it would receive and consider approving the required reporting from the developer. The commission chair said the purpose was to review the “Coco Palms status report agenda item.”

It should be noted that the testimony at the extended meeting was unprecedented and was uniformly against future hotel development. It isn’t clear what other processes the developers will now face, including environmental impact surveys.

At the meeting last year, we reported, “Council member and Beat of Hawaii editors’ friend Felicia Cowden testified that the developer had previously indicated that too many things were working against a future hotel development. ‘Watching how much there is profound cultural roots in that property —  there were 86 bodies found symmetrically buried on the ground.’ She indicated that testimony related to the excavation was never addressed. ‘Don’t yet again break hearts, upset people.'”

Following a private executive meeting, the commission indicated that it had approved the extension of the set two-year limits on the prior permits.

Here comes Coco Palms 2026. Despite the horrendous traffic, no beach, plus development, cultural, and staffing concerns.

Overwhelming community opposition and pleas notwithstanding, the non-oceanfront, non-beach, heavy traffic Coco Palms resort restoration is going forward.

Read the definitive Coco Palms article, which has more than 400 comments. 

 

We look forward to your input!

The image above is a prior development version artist’s rendition.

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73 thoughts on “Coco Palms Kauai Rebuild Starts Now | Unbelievable?”

  1. We honeymooned at the Coco Palms in April of 1978. We returned to Kauai for our 35th anniversary. We were excited to learn that did tours of the Coco Palms and arrive at the gate to learn the the tour that day had been cancelled. That was ten years ago and it would be tempting to revisit a new Coco Palms, providing that they keep some of the flavor of the original hotel.

  2. We got married there 39 yrs ago n loved the resort. Thank u for rebuilding it. We came back for our 5 th anniversary. Service was exceptional n the staff was perfect. Very good memories. Kauai is n will always be our favorite

  3. Like Kauai always does the sky is falling if any developments on island happens
    Costco was going to ruin the island if it got built guess what island still here
    Only thing I see wrong is the contractor not doing a community awareness information on the cultural part of the project
    They have experience an financial backing to do the project right
    It will benifit the community an be a famous part of the island

    1. I don’t like Costco and they did ruin the islands. A few local stores in different areas would have benefitted local farmers and store owners alike plus people wouldn’t travel so far to go to one place (Costco) and they there is all that parking that is required …not economically friendly either. I am happy to hear that there is a chance to bring Hawaii back to what it was when I first visited 25 years ago. In the case of this resort on Kauai, I am not against it as long as they integrate the local community and culture. This is exactly what it was then.

    2. We got married at the Coco Palms in 1984 in the thatched roof church there. I have pictures of it. So beautiful. So excited to hear they will be rebuilding it. Hoping it will be just as beautiful as it was before. Lots of memories. Want to revisit soon and again in 2026 to see it all complete. From Colorado!

      1. I have just celebrated 5 years with my girlfriend in April 2024. When we met Coco Palms rebuild was dead in the water. One day we dreamed we would get married there and recreate the “Blue Hawaii Wedding song scene ” If it was rebuilt. I am an old timer and 60 years of age living in London, England. To get married there would be a dream.

  4. Article in our local Albuquerque newspaper today from the Associate Press about the rebuild probably can Google it, “suggests” they are going to use 10 acres of the 47 acres? It does mention some of the opposition to the project, but none of the issues mentioned here regarding the beach, or traffic issues. So people elsewhere only see a “new resort”, 3 years in the building, 3 years of construction jobs, but no mention of resort staffing etc, after it’s built, or other impacts..
    I tried to link it here but can’t get it to show up. If interested Search for Albuquerque Journal and select Sunday edition to scroll through to the article, click on it so it expands and is readable.

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