The Honolulu City Council is to consider the redevelopment of the hotel at Laie in its August meeting following recommendation of its zoning committee late last night at a hearing in Kahuku High School’s cafeteria. Hundreds of community members expressed their views on the project that replaces the Laie Inn.
The full Council hearing is the last step of the process to get a Special Management Area (SMA) permit for the redevelopment of the Laie hotel. The zoning committee’s recommendation comes after two hearings and submissions that included substantial testimony in support. Survey research has also demonstrated community acceptance and support for the project.*
While the zoning hearing was lengthy, committee members complimented those on all sides of the issue for their civility.
The site of the old Laie Inn (adjacent to BYU-Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center) is zoned for hotel and business use. Because of the site’s proximity to the shoreline, an SMA permit is needed.
The zoning committee includes Council members Ikaika Anderson (chair), Romy Cachola (vice-chair), Tulsi Gabbard, Breene Harimoto, and Ernest Y. Martin. Now it goes to the full City Council on July 6, 2011.
If the SMA permit is granted, building permits for the hotel can be obtained, with groundbreaking anticipated at the end of this year. The goal is to have the hotel open for the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 50th Anniversary in 2013.
Testifiers in support of the project noted job opportunities, the need for affordable lodging options for visiting family and friends, benefits to the Polynesian Cultural Center and BYU-Hawaii’s hospitality and tourism program.
The redevelopment plan is for a 222-room Courtyard by Marriott Hotel. The construction phase is expected to generate 150 jobs with $2.5 million in wages. When completed, the hotel will provide approximately 125 jobs on site.
The 48-room, aged Laie Inn was 46 years old when it was demolished in late 2009.
Group 70 is the architect for the new hotel.
“For the past year we’ve suffered along with our neighbors, packing friends and relatives into our homes when they come to visit. We all look forward to the relief of having affordable accommodations in our community again,” said R. Eric Beaver, Hawaii Reserves, Inc. president. “The replacement hotel will benefit those enjoying the Polynesian Cultural Center and visiting our community. The entire region will benefit from reinstating this important economic driver in Koolau Loa.”
* Islandwide, there is support for the replacement hotel; 70 percent of Oahu residents surveyed favor building the new hotel. Sentiment in the Ko‘olau Loa region is even higher at 72 percent. The survey was conducted by nationally recognized Heart+Mind Strategies in partnership with Honolulu-based Ward Research between December 8 and 17, 2010 for Envision Laie. A total of 832 Oahu residents, including 157 residents from the Koolau Loa District were polled.
Envision Laie represents a diverse group of residents and stakeholders of Laie and Koolau Loa who are working together to study Laie and plan for its future possibilities, a future that protects quality of life and emphasizes the values of the people who live in the Koolau Loa region.