Ko Olina plans world-class aquarium and resort

Ko Olina Resort & Marina in Honolulu unveiled its plans for the Grand Ko Olina Resort, Hotel & Spa, a $1 billion project integrated with an interactive aquarium adventure lagoon and cultural center.

The 25-acre, 1,000-room resort and aquarium lagoon is a major component of a state initiative to diversify the economy on the leeward coast of Oahu and is being underwritten, in part, by $75 million in state tax credits for development of the aquarium.

The Grand Ko Olina will boost west Oahus prominence in the visitor industry and add a one-of-a-kind icon to Hawaii that is directly connected to Hawaiis unique ocean environment and culture, said Jeffrey Stone, master developer of Ko Olina Resort & Marina.

Groundbreaking is slated for later this year. No completion date has been set.

The Grand Ko Olina Resort, Hotel & Spa will include an oceanfront hotel/condominium, timeshares and a Hawaiian village surrounding a swim-through lagoon and separate shark tank.

The Ko Olina Golf Club is a feature of the Ko Olina Resort & Marina on Oahu.Visitors to the 5 million-gallon aquarium will be able to visit an underwater dome that offers panoramic views of sharks, swim in an interactive reef and visit a beach lagoon sealed from the ocean.

The 642-acre Ko Olina master-planned resort community already includes the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa at Ko Olina, Marriotts Ko Olina Beach Club and the Ko Olina Golf Club.

Three new timeshares are being completed to complement the existing Fairways homes.

The land for the new project is owned by Takeshi Sekiguchi, one of the original developers of Ko Olina Resort, who perhaps is best known for developing the Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons Wailea resorts on Maui.

The Grand Ko Olina marks Sekiguchis return to the Hawaiis market, brought about, he said, by the recovery of the Japanese economy and the forecast of increased eastbound travel from Asia. I believe the Grand Ko Olina will serve as a major destination to this revitalized market.

The Ko Olinas recovery and expansion will create business opportunities, jobs and tourism, said Ted Liu, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Developers expect the project to provide 1,000 new jobs for leeward coast and west Oahu residents.

In the last four years, the resort has generated nearly 2,000 new jobs and brought in more than $1 billion in investments to the state.

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