New Owner, Operator Assume Control of Hawaii's Makena Beach & Golf Resort

In a joint venture with Trinity Investments and Stanford Carr Development, both of Honolulu, New York-based AREA Property Partners has assumed ownership of Hawaii's Makena Beach & Golf Resort, and has named The Landmark Hotels Group the Maui property's new operator and management company, it announced last month.

As part of a lender group that foreclosed on it earlier this year, AREA acquired the hotel — the former Maui Prince Hotel — by converting its $30 million share of the mortgage to equity, and by paying $12 million of the mortgage's remaining principal.

"Over the last year, many parties, including the receiver, the lending trust and its agents, and the hotel management company, made extraordinary efforts to stabilize the hotel operations and position it for a transition to long-term ownership," said AREA partner Bradford Wildauer. "In assuming ownership of the property, AREA and our partners are expanding our commitment to the resort, its employees and guests. We plan to revitalize Makena so that it continues to be a premier destination resort."

With 310 guest rooms and 65,000 square feet of meeting and event space, not to mention two 18-hole golf courses, the Makena sits on 1,800 acres on the southwestern coast of Maui. It was known as the Maui Prince until 2007, when it was sold to Morgan Stanley, which entered foreclosure in September 2009. The hotel was sold at auction to its mortgage holders, including AREA, in June.

"Makena is a very special part of Maui and so much of the island's early history is rooted in this area," said Shawn Sweeney, senior vice president of operations at Landmark, which will oversee the property's management. "The resort has always had a tradition of service and the employees have gone through so much uncertainty in the past few years. We intend to work closely with the hotel's union and to re-institute training programs so that the Makena Beach & Golf Resort can become one of the truly great hotels in Hawaii."