HONOLULU — The management of Hilton Hawaiian Village has postponed the reopening of Kalia Tower, which was closed down completely at the height of tourist season last year after the discovery of mold throughout its guestrooms (The News, Sept. 2, 2002).

The corporation announced that instead of opening in the second quarter of this year as planned, the tower will reopen in the third quarter, some time between July and September. In addition to cleaning and replacing materials in the tower, the work includes changes to the mechanical plant and air conditioning system for the sake of humidity control, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

The molds in the tower were identified as Cladosporium and Eurotium. The Eurotium is said to be a forerunner to Aspergillus, which is potentially dangerous. According to the EPA, varieties of molds such as Aspergillus "can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins."

Peter Schall, senior vice president and managing director of the hotel, said that the final stages of correcting the problem include scheduling equipment lifts by helicopter. “We are working closely with Pacific Helicopters and their personnel to keep any potential inconveniences to an absolute minimum.”

The hotel, which has filed a lawsuit against eight construction and design firms, stated that the remediation carries an estimated final cost of $56 million. The tower originally cost $96 million to build. In addition, the Star-Bulletin reported that during the restoration process, it was learned that the fill dirt under the tower had not been examined for historic remains before the tower was erected.

The Hawaii Historic Preservation Division requires this process so that artifacts and/or burial remains may be retrieved. These may be used to document the islands’ history.

The Historic Preservation Division said burial remains were found near the Kalia Tower’s location in the 1990s. However, it is now too late to find out whether or not artifacts are indeed buried under the site.

Publication date: 06/16/2003