Lihu’e Shell Station (2015)

Photos: Courtesy of Aloha Petroleum Ltd.

UPDATE: 2016

Article Written By: Katrina Valcourt, HONOLULU Magazine

Developers Chad Waters and Tyler Greene began knocking down portions of the property in June, with plans to complete the demolition phase by the end of the year. The resort earned pop culture fame when Elvis Presleygot married there in Blue Hawai‘i (1961). Though they will be expanding the size of some suites, the overall footprint of the hotel won’t change—the cabanas will still be there (but raised because of the proximity to the lagoon), and the coconut grove will be cleaned up and feature a cultural center. Though almost everything is getting stripped out to be renovated, some important relics will be preserved, such as tile mosaics from the main bar and restaurant. To raise money for this effort, the developers are launching a fundraising campaign “to give locals and people emotionally invested in the hotel an opportunity to get back involved,” Greene said in a statement. “We would prefer to keep the hotel in the hands of people who love it and have a personal connection with it.” The hotel should be open by mid- to late 2018.


Article Written By: Katrina Valcourt, HONOLULU Magazine

What is it?
This gas station along Kūhiō Highway was built in 1930 by Guy Nelson Rothwell, a Honolulu architect known for his work on more than 1,000 structures on O‘ahu, including Honolulu Hale, Roosevelt High School, the Atherton House at UH and many buildings on the Punahou campus. With a lava-rock base and pillars and a cement roof designed to emulate a grass shack, the Shell station was praised as “without doubt the finest and most attractive service station in Hawai‘ i,” in a June 10, 1930, cover story of The Garden Island.

What threatens it?
Aloha Petroleum, the distributor and retailer of Shell gasoline in Hawai‘i, has filed for demolition permits with the Kaua‘i Planning Department and plans to knock it down in 2016. “The problem with this place is it’s very old and it’s very rundown and, frankly, it’s reached the end of its useful life,” says Richard Parry, CEO of Aloha Petroleum. “We’ve spent a lot of money trying to fix it,” he says, including attempting to waterproof the roof, but it still leaks and has even collapsed inside; the fuel islands aren’t under the canopy so they get wet in the rain; it’s dangerously close to the road; and the canopy is so low that tall vehicles keep hitting it. “It’s falling down, it’s a safety hazard, it’s not functional.”

What can be done?
“We’re always open to options, but we’ve been wondering about how to fix this thing up for five years,” Parry says. If possible, Aloha Petroleum may reuse some of the building materials or commemorate the original station with a plaque or photos. Ka‘aina Hull, deputy planning director with the County, says the department will look into if it can be rebuilt or possibly condemned. “We’re actively reaching out to the landowners to see if there’s potential for preservation,” he says. Though he understands Aloha Petroleum’s financial concerns, he wants to educate them and the owner, the Weinberg Foundation, about its architectural history and see the building returned to its original glory. “It’s a beautiful gem in the rough.”

2017-04-21T01:01:15+00:00 November 1st, 2015|Categories: Blog, MES Kauai|Tags: , |