By Wendy Osher
After a decade of discussion, ground was broken today on the Courtyard by Marriott Maui in Kahului. The four-story, 138-room hotel has been casually referred to as the Maui Airport Hotel because of its close proximity to the Kahului Airport.
The $16 million project is planned for development on 3.35 acres of land on a corner lot located near the Kahului Costco near the intersection of Keolani Place and the Haleakala Highway. The site was identified by A&B Properties years ago as an ideal hotel location to serve short-term community and business travelers.
“We are confident this hotel–long anticipated for sure–will be a welcome and convenient option for short-term visitors from the neighbor islands, government officials desiring proximity to Wailuku offices and, quite possibly sports event or family reunion attendees, visiting Maui for a few days,” said A&B Properties Vice President Grant Y.M. Chun. “We do believe the timing is right, the economy is coming back–and Marriott is going to be a great operator for this property,” said Chun.
The hotel will be constructed by R.D. Olson Construction, with anticipated construction slated for completion in 12 months, in the early part of 2012. In addition to the jobs created through local subcontracting work, the hotel is expected to employ more than 50 associates when it opens.
Marriott opened its first hotel in the Hawaiian Islands here on Maui 30 years ago. The Maui Marriott at Kaanapali opened in 1981, and is now known as the Marriott Ocean Club at Kaanapali.
Today, Marriott operates 14 hotel and time share properties on four islands.
“To say that we’re excited about this site is definitely an understatement,” said Chris Tatum, the Vice President of Marriott Resorts Hawaii. “We have over 1,500 associates that work for us on Maui, and we’re going to add another 50,” said Tatum.
Other Marriott brands on Maui include The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences at Kapalua Bay, Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club at Kaanapali (formerly the Maui Marriott Resort), and the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.
“This will be a great opportunity, not only for the location and for the brand, but we have some great associates at our properties in Wailea, Kaanapali, and Kapalua. This will give them an opportunity to grow, and not leave home. I’ve already got a list of folks who don’t want to drive to Kaanapali anymore, so, we’ll have no problem getting great quality associates here in Kahului,” said Tatum at today’s groundbreaking ceremony.
“It’s something that I’ve looked forward to for almost a decade,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa. “There’a an absolute need to increase the ability to have a hotel for our locals. People come here for business meetings, visiting their families–this will really enhance our ability to have more rooms. We as a community, generally don’t cater so much in our tourist industry toward the local traveler. Something like the Marriott hotel will be a great benefit for us,” said Mayor Arakawa.
“This is why we are working to improve our permitting process, so that more critical projects like these won’t be held back any longer. It’s time to break the log-jam,” said the Mayor.
The airport hotel will include 49 studio king rooms, 79 studio double queen rooms, six suites, and four extended stay suites.
The property will be the first Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Maui and the first Marriott property in the state to feature the company’s new “refreshing business” concept which provides guests with services and amenities aimed at creating a healthy balance between work and play. This includes a high-tech business center for guests, open lobby format, a board room and meeting space, a fitness center, pool, surfboard storage, bar and lounge.
“In addition to the community groups and business travelers, the hotel’s location and amenities will attract travelers transiting the airport and those wanting easy access to activities and sights on the island’s popular North Shore,” said Bob Olson, the President and CEO of R.D. Olson Development.
“I’ve worked with government for years and I’ve never seen the level of cooperation that I’ve seen from Maui County, particularly Mayor Alan Arakawa,” said Olson. “He was determined to make sure this project moved forward and we appreciate his help.”