HILO, Hawaii – The Grand Naniloa Hotel has offered its own plans for the redevelopment of Banyan Drive, as a county agency is digesting options for the future vision of the Hilo resort area.
The newly renovated Naniloa is taking a path outside of the Banyan Drive Hawaii Redevelopment Agency, but planning director Duane Kanuha assured the board members on Wednesday that the hotel’s vision is “really consistent with what we are trying to accomplish here”.
“One of the proposals that came … to us and the agency in response to these plans… was a proposal by the currently lessee of the Naniloa Hotel and the golf course property,” Kanuha explained. “It’s an interesting proposal. So, early this morning (Naniloa) and the mayor and some of us met in the mayor’s office to kind of get some clarification on what was going on behind the proposal; what the thought process was.”
What came out of the meeting, Kanuha continued, “is a handshake agreement” between Naniloa and the County to enter into a memorandum of agreement “whereby the County could participate in a revitalization effort for portions of this property as well as Banyan Drive as a whole.”
“It’s kind of a package deal,” Kanuha said. “It really has nothing to do with the plan or the agency and everything.”
The MOA, Kanuha said, would allocate resources to do things like a “cleanup of all the banyan trees” which are almost all within the County right of way.
The Naniloa’s plans were shared with the board members.
“It’s important that everyone understands that the Naniloa lease – which includes the golf course – is a long lease,” said board member Brian DeLima. 55 years to be exact.
“Quite frankly, unless there’s a memorandum of agreement by the leaseholder, none of the ideas of a convention or community project would be able to be done, unless for some reason they default on their lease. So I think it’s important for the public to understand that having that leaseholder cooperation is important in order to implement anything in the short term,” DeLima said.