EXCLUSIVE: New Hotel Planned at Old Maui Palms Site in Kahului
By Wendy Osher
Plans are currently underway for a multimillion dollar project to build a new budget hotel where the old Maui Palms hotel once stood along Kahului Harbor.
Several building permits were filed on Friday for the project which is situated on vacant land between the Maui Beach Hotel and the Maui Seaside Hotel in Kahului along Kaʻahumanu Avenue.
Peter Savio, owner of the parcel, spoke with Maui Now in a phone interview this morning saying plans call for 135 rooms and three buildings. The east and west wing buildings will be five stories each and the middle lobby building will stand one to two stories tall.
According to building permits, the initial value of the hotel lobby is $3.4 million; the hotel’s east wing is valued at $13.8 million and the hotel’s west wing has an initial value placed at $12.47 million. There’s also plans for a $46,000 retaining wall.
An earlier rendition of the project was voided when federal rules changed regarding the foundation due to tide and wave action and the amount of erosion that could occur. “Instead of a concrete slab, we had to go with a pile system, which delayed the project almost a year-and-a-half,” said Savio.
Developers voided earlier permits while revisions were made, and filed an extension for a Shoreline Management Area Permit.
Savio called the building an “interesting visual representation,” and say they “ended up with a much better design” that he said is sensitive to the visual aspect and the trade winds of Maui. “People driving by won’t see the Waikīkī effect of just concrete,” he said.
The original project had estimated the cost or rooms to run in the budget range of between $175 to $200 per night, but Savio noted that could go up or down, saying he wanted something “doable.”
Savio said he’s looking to attract local clientele and those planning neighbor island travel. “This project is about local travelers. Tourists can sort of fill in. In most other projects it’s the other way around,” he said.
Savio said the new hotel does not have a name yet, but noted that mainland lenders want it to be a recognized national brand.
When he purchased the property in 2014, the transaction included the Maui Beach Hotel, the land at the former Maui Palms site (which he now proposing for development as the new hotel) and the Elleair Golf Course in Kīhei.
In addition to the new hotel project, Savio remains a partner in the Maui Beach Hotel property, and has recently put in a contract to buy the neighboring Maui Seaside Hotel as well. According to Savio, that purchase just received approval for financing today and should close in the next 90 to 120 days.
He said he may keep it as a Seaside Hotel for a while, but has plans to transition that property into a Pagoda Hotel. Plans are to do some renovations and upgrades, but Savio said, “The chain has done a wonderful job and there’s not a lot to do.”
Peter Savio is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Savio Group of Companies and owner of the Pagoda Hotel on Oʻahu. He has more than 30 years experience in real estate development and sales in the Hawaiʻi market.
Savio calls himself a “real estate junkie,” and “social-worker developer,” with a “real passion for affordable housing,” saying he’s most known for his affordable housing developments.