New Owner of Uncle Billy’s Hotel Shares Vision: ‘Our Plan is to Bring Downtown Kona Back’

The new owner of the Kona Bay Resort has a vision for his a short while ago bought downtown landmark, and it appears to be like a good deal like the building’s glory times, only much better.

Sandor Shapery, operator of Shapery Enterprises, said he plans to refurbish the previous Uncle Billy’s hotel on Ali‘i Travel in the heart of Kailua-Kona with $25 million in advancements that will change the deteriorating, vacant composition, but at the similar time, keep its unique, old Hawai‘i sense.

“It’s heading to be a major refresh on the assets,” Shapery claimed. “Our prepare is to carry downtown Kona again.”

Historic restoration projects are a specialty of the San Diego-based actual estate improvement business and Shapery intends to refurbish, not rebuild, the iconic 122-mattress hotel, “to carry back again that outdated historical vibe.”

“My system for that is to make it the nicest place in downtown Kona,” Shapery explained.

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When plans simply call for a retro feel, amenities will be fashionable. Tiki torches all over the pool will search precisely like that, but they’ll be a more recent low-voltage, environmentally friendly range. Rooms will have synthetic wood floors and all the bathtubs will be replaced with showers. An ocean-facing rooftop bar is in the ideas, as is a putting inexperienced going through the other way. Lava rock will be included into the types, as will bamboo.

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“There is a good deal of depth, hand-stuff we want to do to make it a particular area,” Shapery stated. “I’m just attempting to make use of all my restoration abilities.”

Shapery has accomplished identical restoration assignments in California and Aspen, Colo., exactly where he splits his time. For decades he and his wife have lived parts of the yr on the Massive Island, but they’ve lived in Captain Cook dinner complete time for the very last two decades.

In truth, Shapery initially inquired about getting the Kona Inn when out on a stroll on Ali‘i Push. The Kona Inn couldn’t be bought because of to title problems however in the system of becoming worked out, but the old lodge across the road was obtainable.

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So Shapery snapped it up. Shapery Enterprises acquired the asset, situated on 2.06 acres, for $21 million back in January.

The authentic estate developer and attorney claimed he nevertheless would like to buy the Kona Inn when it gets obtainable.

Holidaymakers stroll by the shut Kona Bay Lodge on Thursday. Computer system: Tom Hasslinger/Large Island Now

“Absolutely,” Shapery mentioned. “For how excellent Kona is, I want to do my share to provide downtown Kona back.”

The business, JLL, that marketed the home on behalf of the vendor, a area family, claimed Shapery’s vision for the area performed a large element in the method.

“It is a generational offering that is in close proximity to and expensive to the group, and we are thrilled to see the eyesight the consumer has for this property,” the seller’s representative, Wendell Brooks, mentioned at the time of the offer.

Shapery said that simply because it will be a restoration task and not demolition and rebuild, the permitting course of action by Hawai‘i County has been sleek thus considerably. He’s aiming to have the hotel rebuilt in 18 months.

“That’s the timeline,” he claimed, introducing, “that’s an intense timeline.”

He additional that he intends to hold the resort fees very affordable, much more in line for the “blue-collar” guest as opposed to a higher-conclude resort more befitting the Kohala Coastline. To enable do that, Shapery stated he’s looking to partner with a nationwide lodge brand name that will permit travelers to use lodge reward details.

Structure plans are continue to in the will work. After they’re concluded, the new operator intends to host an open up residence for the local community to come see them and present feed-back.

“We want to make sure we have the local community on board,” he explained.

Neighbors of the home claimed they’re energized for what’s in retail outlet.

Michael Heidt’s company, Welcoming Activities, sits across Ali‘i Travel from the resort. He said the reopened company will convey a lot more foot targeted visitors and shoppers for shops like his, which is desired in downtown Kona, particularly because the pandemic strike so several organizations down there, so tough. 

“It’s excellent,” Heidt reported when he realized what is prepared for the house. “I haven’t read everything that is negative.”

Shapery included that he’s looking to acquire an acre of land within a mile of the hotel so he can begin to build economical housing there. Cost-effective housing is essential to acquiring and retaining good quality workers.