HONOLULU – The Lingle-Aiona Administration has made two proposals to purchase the Turtle Bay resort and surrounding open space since Governor Linda Lingle raised this issue in her January 2008 State of the State Address. The offers were made on August 10 and again on November 25, 2008 to the sellers of the property, Kuilima Resort Company, TBR Property LLC, Kuilima Mauka, LLC and North Shore Wastewater Treatment, administration officials told the Turtle Bay Advisory Working Group at a meeting held this afternoon.
The offers were made to the brokers representing Oaktree, the entity managing and proposing to develop the site, and the consortium of lenders.
The offers were based on an appraisal of the property and recognize the importance of maintaining the current hotel operations as well as respect the desire of those who were interested in obtaining their leased fee interest under their condominiums. The property encompasses nearly 1,300 acres of land on O‘ahu’s North Shore, including the makai and mauka lands from Kahuku Point to Kawela Bay.
The State’s offers allowed for an exit strategy that would have eliminated or limited the need to use State tax dollars to acquire the land. This included possible options of the State selling, and/or working with other entities that would purchase the resort hotel, golf courses, related businesses and condominiums as part of the financing.
“Under the current economic and capital markets climate the State continues to be a qualified and, we believe, a preferred purchaser. We also continue to stand ready to participate in or facilitate a transaction that would preserve the majority of the land in open space,” Ted Liu, State director of Economic Development and Tourism, stated.
Liu noted the State’s initial offer was not accepted and the State’s second and most recent offer on November 25, 2008 expired on December 10, 2008, but the State stands ready to negotiate further. Therefore the terms of the offer could not be disclosed.
The Governor’s Turtle Bay Advisory Working Group, comprised of community, business, government, non-profit and union leaders, has been meeting to address how to acquire the property and preserve it for public use, while also maintaining the economic viability of the existing resort.
The Legislature passed a bill to provide the Governor with additional negotiating tools to use in acquiring and protecting the nearly 1,300 acres of land on Oahu’s North Shore through a variety of means, including direct appropriations, general obligation bonds, exchange of public lands, federal funds, private funds or other negotiated agreements. While the bill also authorizes the use of eminent domain, the Administration believes this is not a preferred option. The bill was signed into law by Governor Lingle on June 4, 2008.
RELATED: Honolulu Advertiser coverage
SB: State fails in attempt to acquire Turtle Bay