Holiday Inn Express Coming to Kona

March 22, 2012

Holiday Inn Express-Big Spring, Texas

A new Holiday Inn Express is coming to Kailua Village.  Sherry Telford of the Intercontinental Hotels Group has confirmed the new hotel  is set to open in Kailua-Kona before the end of 2013.  The hotel will have 3 stories,  75 rooms, and be located at 75-146 Sharona Road.  The hotel will be north of Hualalai Road, behind the small shopping area on the corner of Kuakini and Hualalai  where Tracy’s Tastee Deli and the County Elections office located for the last election, mauka of Ali’i Drive, makai of Kuakini Highway.  The property currently is parking space and open land.

However, at this point, no building permit has yet been issued.

The hotel was reviewed by the Kailua Village Design Commission on March 8, 2011.  The application for a permit for both a ground sign and a wall sign, plus the review of the 75-room hotel was brought before the Commission by Han Kim on behalf of land owners Ed Kim, Gyu Han Kim, Mihyung Kim, and Faruq Ramzanalli.    A previous building permit for a hotel, under previous owners, issued in 2005, had expired.

According to the minutes of the meeting, Planning Department employee Keola Childs said the sign request was being returned to the applicant to correct some procedural issues and would have to  be resubmitted.  However, no new  sign permit application for Holiday Inn Express has yet been listed on the agendas of  the Kailua Village Design Commission as of March, 2012.

The minutes also reflect that Child said that the project concept had been previously approved, in 2003 (prior to the lapsed building permit).   He noted the current proposal appeared to be in compliance with zoning codes, landscaping requirements, and architectural guidelines for Kailua Village.  The hotel’s architect, Don Johnson, reviewed the project and pointed out design features.  The commissioners requested the architect look into using locally-appropriate materials such as coral or lava rock for the building’s façade.

The commissioners voted in favor of the project, with Paul Bleck, Ann Kern, Nancy Burns, and Stephen Herbert voting aye.  Three commissioners were absent.  The minutes do not reflect whether nor how commissioner Shane Kitchens voted.

The 1.32-acre  property was last listed for sale at $1,495,000 and the current owners purchased it for $1,020,000 in April, 2010, according to Hawaii County tax records.

Telford said when completed, the project will carry the Holiday Inn Express brand.  That means rooms will feature king- or queen-sized beds, a sitting area, a spacious work desk, free internet and telephone service,  high quality bathroom fixtures and linens, free USA Today newspapers, and a complimentary breakfast with eggs, meats, breads, cereals, and more.   There is currently one other Holiday Inn in the state, in Honolulu.

Access to the property will be via Sharona Lane from Ali’i Drive, and from Kuakini Highway with a right-in, right-out scheme.  The developer will need to make some infrastructure improvements to improve Sharona Lane mauka of the hotel so there will be  two lanes between the hotel and Kuakini Highway.

The owners are property and hotel developers from the Seattle area.  Their company Hotel Concepts, Inc.,  has a number of extended stay or “suites” hotels either existing or under construction listed on their website.   The web site says Hotel Concepts is a full spectrum hospitality company with expertise in land acquisition, franchise selection, permitting, construction, and hotel management.

The architect, Don Johnson of DJ Architecture in Albany, Oregon, says although the hotel will adhere to the Holiday Inn Express design requirements, it will have Hawaiian-style touches appropriate for the location. Windows will open, there will be a lot of wood in the interior and exterior, the lobby will be open air to take advantage of breezes and fresh air.  The interior design will take advantage of new Holiday Inn Express allowances to make the property more appropriate for the place.

Johnson says they are working with local architect and builder Fritz Harris-Glade to manage the building permit process.  He says they’re working out details relative to burial protection and other items, but are in process.    Once the permit is issued, the applicant will have 120 days to start the project.  The County is adopting a new Building Code as of March 28, 2012, but Johnson says they’ll qualify under the existing code as they’re already in the pipeline although the permit has not been issued.

Note:  the photo is of a Holiday Inn Express in Texas, and is likely NOT representative of the design for the new Kona location.  We’ll update the photo with the Kona design as soon as we get it.

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