A project to build Waikiki’s first oceanfront high-rise hotel in more than three decades has been cleared to move forward following a unanimous decision by the Honolulu Zoning Board of Appeals on Aug. 23.

Part of a more than $700 million Waikiki redevelopment project by Kyo-ya Hotels, owners of the Sheraton Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian, the Moana Surfrider and the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, the plan to build a 26-story luxury, beachfront high-rise had been held up for more than two years by a zoning variance appeal filed by four local environmental and community groups, who argued that the new structure would be too close to the beach.

The new 280-foot tower would replace the existing 140-room Diamondhead Tower annex immediately east of the Moana Surfrider's Banyan Wing and feature a combination of hotel guestrooms, timeshare units and luxury residences.

Kyo-ya has already spent $270 million renovating the Royal Hawaiian, the Sheraton Waikiki and the Moana Surfrider in recent years and has dramatic upgrades planned for the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani.

“We are pleased that the [zoning board] unanimously validated the planning and permitting director’s December 2010 decision,” Kyo-ya said in a statement. “Today’s announcement reaffirms our belief that the redevelopment of the Diamond Head Tower is the right thing to do for the Waikiki community, the state’s No. 1 industry and the more than 3,500 Kyo-ya employees.”
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