coco palms resort

Coco Palms Resort Fire and Foreign Ownership

An eerie fire destroyed the historic main lobby of the soon to be rebuilt Hyatt Coco Palms resort on Kauai on Friday afternoon. The cause is still under investigation.

This sad news comes on the heels of an interesting twist revealed last week on the upcoming $125 million Coco Palms Resort rebuild. Developers have indicated they are seeking federal approval to implement a little known immigrant investor program. Known as EB-5, the program was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate our economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors in exchange for “green cards.” There will undoubtedly be some controversy about this move.

Coco Palms in History

coco palmsThe area was the ancestral home of Kauai Ali’i (royalty). When it was developed as a Kauai hotel, it became highly prominent in the Hawaiian islands before and after statehood under the watch of hotelier Grace Guslander.

The original Coco Palms consisted of thatched-roof bungalows scattered among royal ponds and coconut trees. The grounds also include the unmaintained yet beautiful, leased 17 acre coconut grove pictured at left.

Mitzi Gaynor stayed in one the bungalows during her filming of the film South Pacific. On her visit to Kauai, the first in 50 years, she lamented the condition of the resort and the loss it represents to Hawaii.

The Coco Palms Resort was destroyed first by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and has since been mired in controversies from insurance fraud, permitting, ownership, economic issues and now fire and foreign involvement. 

Read other Coco Palms Resort articles on Beat of Hawaii.


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