Saturday | April 25, 2015
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Naniloa seeks funding for renovations

Major renovations have yet to begin at the Hilo Naniloa Hotel, but owners still hope to have the work finished by the end of the year, said investor Ed Olson.

Olson, a Big Island resident, said the hotel is seeking a $15 million construction loan to finance the work. Investors are contributing another $5 million.

Permit applications are also in the process of being filed with Hawaii County, he said, adding he is hoping for a 45-day turnaround.

Olson said the hotel is seeking local lenders.

“The biggest thing right now in front of us is getting a construction loan itself,” he said. “We’re putting it out to about two dozen lenders.”

Olson said the hotel sought a loan with First Hawaiian Bank but was not successful. He said the hotel’s plans are to get the funding by July.

“We are still confident we are going to be able to do it and that it will be a great hotel for Hilo,” Olson said.

WHR LLC, led by real estate developer Ed Bushor, acquired the 383-room hotel through bankruptcy in December. The owners planned significant renovations, using a marine and historical theme to remake the hotel, which has struggled for years.

The hotel had about 160 usable rooms when it was acquired, Olson said. Several since have been fixed.

“We took some of the rooms that weren’t too bad and worked on them,” he said.

Other issues, including electrical and other building code violations, have been worked on first, Olson said.

“I’d say we corrected half” of those issues, he said.

A generator used for some of the hotel’s electricity also was removed.

WHR LLC spent about $7 million acquiring the hotel and covering its defaults, Bushor said in December. He couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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