Calling it "doable and essential to protect
our way of life," Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle proposed that the state
buy the 850-acre Turtle Bay property on Oahu's rural North Shore to
protect it from further development.
"I believe this is a
once-in-a-generation chance to preserve both a lifestyle for
thousands of residents and a part of
Hawaii that millions the world over have come to love and identify
as the real Hawaii," Lingle said in her State of the State address
on Jan. 22.
Lingle called on
government and community leaders to work together to explore
options and develop an action plan to make sure the property stays
in public hands. She pointed to the collaboration between the
government and the private sector that led to the preservation of
Waimea Valley and 1,129 acres of the Pupukea-Paumalu coastal bluff,
also on the North Shore.
Turtle Bay hotel
owner Kuilima Resort Co., which is owned by Los Angeles-based
Oaktree Capital Management, has been seeking a buyer or development
partner since June 2006 to help finance an expansion that would add
up to five new hotels with 3,500 rooms and condominium units on
undeveloped oceanfront property.
expansion, initially approved 20 years ago but only partially
implemented, is widely opposed by Hawaii residents and lawmakers,
who cite increased traffic, environmental degradation and the
possible disturbance of previously undiscovered Hawaiian burial
grounds among their concerns.
The company has
invested more than $100 million in renovating the existing hotel,
putting up the Ocean Villas condominium project and preparing for
the expansion, according to an attorney for Kuilima.
Late last year, a
$283 million mortgage foreclosure lawsuit was filed against Kiulima
Resort Co. by Credit Suisse, an international lender seeking
payment of delinquent principal, interest and fees.
contact reporter Margaret Myre, send e-mail to [email protected].