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Feb. 4, 2013

Plans for the Future of Hawaii’s Pineapple Island Unveiled

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison is planning to revitalize Lanai’s hospitality industry by upgrading its existing properties and adding a third luxury hotel. According to the Pacific Business News, the island’s billionaire owner also intends to expand the 1.5-megawatt La Ola solar farm, invest in desalination technology and improve transportation to and from Lanai.

Kurt Matsumoto, head of business operations at Lanai Resorts L.L.C., described the initiatives involving the future of Hawaii’s Pineapple Island at a recent community meeting.

Called “Lanai — Today and into the Future, A Vision for Creating a Sustainable Lanai,” the plan includes renovations of the Four Seasons Resorts and The Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay, as well as the development of a new resort destination on the eastern side of the island.

In terms of renewable energy, Ellison intends to develop a solar farm large enough to power the entire island. The existing La Ola solar farm currently supplies 10 percent of Lanai’s power needs. Plans also call for the use of electric vehicles and the construction of charging stations.

Additional priorities for the future of Lanai include a broader range of healthcare and housing options, small-business development, commercial agriculture, conservation activities, as well as the creation of a research center that would promote sustainability. Ellison also aims to improve the presence of the University of Hawaii’s Maui Community College on Lanai and create “the best school in Hawaii.”

The island is currently involved in a six-month community plan process, which is part of Maui County’s general plan. The next community meeting will be held next month, the newspaper reports.

Last summer, Ellison bought most of Lanai from Castle and Cooke Chairman David Murdock for an estimated $500 million.

Photo credits: www.fourseasons.com/manelebay