Naniloa sale may soon be a wrap


By TOM CALLIS

Tribune-Herald staff writer

The sale of the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort could soon come to an end, the hotel’s bankruptcy trustee believes.

David Farmer said representatives of the seller and real estate developer Ed Bushor, who submitted the winning $5.2 million bid last month, are working toward closing the deal after a hearing scheduled for Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Bushor and Farmer have been at odds over a few issues, with the buyer claiming he had not received documents needing to close the sale and that some property from the hotel on the Waiakea Peninsula was missing.

Farmer said he provided everything required of him and challenged claims over missing property.

The hearing is intended to address those claims and a request by Bushor to extend the closing date to Wednesday.

Farmer said legal counsel from both sides are cooperating to prepare the completion of the sale, adding, “We’re looking at a midnight Monday closing.”

He doesn’t expect a notice of appeal filed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which owns the land, to affect the sale.

The DLNR filed the notice believing it needs consent to transfer the lease from Hawaii Outdoor Tours to Bushor’s group, referred to in recent court filings as WHR, LLC. Farmer said bankruptcy law is clear that it does not.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources discussed the matter in executive session Friday but took no action, a DLNR spokeswoman said.

Bushor said earlier in the week that he planned to provide an outline of his plans for the hotel at the meeting, but could not be reached for comment Friday.

In a statement, DLNR Chair William Aila said the board was “surprised at the detailed and optimistic proposal scheduled by the attorney,” in an apparent reference to Bushor’s legal representative.

“The (bankruptcy) judge believes he does not need the Land Board’s consent to issue the lease,” Aila added.

“The department is considering whether to appeal as that would not be a good precedent for the department.”

Bushor’s plan includes partnering with renowned artist Robert Wyland to decorate the approximately 380-room hotel with an ocean theme and investing $20 million in renovations and other work.

Bushor said he plans to renovate the rooms floor by floor and be done by New Year’s 2015.

“I want the hotel done in 12 months,” he said.

“I plan to throw a New Year’s party for Hilo having the hotel they deserve.”

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

 

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