Kapalua Resort and Maui Land and Pineapple: A New Direction
Today Maui Land and Pineapple announced a new direction for both Maui Pineapple Company and Kapalua Land Company, operator of the Kapalua Resort:
After 97 years of business here on Maui, Maui Pineapple Company will cease pineapple operations. In spite of initiatives to focus on hybrid fruit, improved facilities and operational efficiency, MPC has lost millions in agriculture profits since 2002. Most recently, the company had cultivated pineapple on nearly 2000 acres around the island. The impact of this announcement is heart-felt: MPC has a rich history–it has employed generations of Maui residents, and has provided a beautiful backdrop for our island.
Kapalua Resort Operations:
Kapalua Land Company will also make adjustments by creating partnerships in the many segments of resort operations it currently self-manages. As a world class resort, Kapalua offers golf, retail, adventures, organic farms, dining, and accommodations. The partnerships are with operators that are considered the best in their respective fields, who are being selected on their ability to reinforce the Kapalua Resort’s reputation as a top destination. It is expected that these new partnerships will be finalized on or before December 31, 2009.
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of ML&P’s third quarter reports, which can be viewed online at the company’s investor relations page at www.mauiland.com. In addition to losses in pineapple operations, losses of $22.8 million were reported. These losses are attributable to the company’s investment in the Kapalua Bay Holdings, LLC, the joint venture which built the Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences, Kapalua Bay. This effectively writes down the company’s equity in the luxury condominium project.
To understand the impact of today’s announcements and the history of this company, a brief overview may be helpful:
The company ML&P dates back to 1962, but its history in West Maui and the island dates back even further. What was eventually to become the Kapalua Resort, was known as the Honolua Ranch at the turn of the century. Originally it was home to cattle ranching and food crops. When ranch manager, D. T. Flemming, added pineapple farming to the ranching operations in 1912, he effectively changed the future of West Maui for years to come. Nearly half a century later, ML&P’s first President and CEO, Colin Cameron, would change the face of West Maui even further, with his vision of the Kapalua Resort and his focus on conservation.
In 1978, the Kapalua Resort welcomed it’s first guests when the Bay Hotel opened it’s doors. Over the next few years communities such as the Bay Villas, Ridge Villas, Golf Villas, and Ironwoods would bring more visitors and guests. Nestled along the Bay Course, these condominium communities blended in with the natural surroundings. The historic Honolua Store, which served the Plantation Community since 1929, remained at the heart of the resort. In the late 80’s early 90’s, the resort saw the addition of residential communities at Pineapple Hill, the building of the famed Plantation Course and the surrounding Plantation Estates, and the addition of the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua hotel. The resort continued to grow and evolve: a decade later, the Coconut Grove was added, lots were sold at Pineapple Hill Estates and Honolua Ridge. Over the last few years, we saw a $180 million renovation at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, the transformation of the Bay Hotel to the Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences, renovations to the Honolua Store, the addition of ziplines and mountain hiking trails, and the opening of the Kapalua Spa.
Kapalua’s butterfly symbol pays tribute to the resort’s beginnings in pineapple production. If you look closely, you will see that the heart of the butterfly is a pineapple, representing a resort and island community whose metamorphosis began in the Pineapple fields that were cultivated around it.