Billionaire Larry Ellison plans to build a third hotel on the windward side of Lanai, Hawaii News Now has learned.
Ellison, the country's third richest man, also has disclosed plans to build a second runway at the island's airport.
"Now you have Ellison come in with a fresh perspective and it brings a new breath of fresh air to the marketplace," said Mike Hamasu, director of consulting & research at Colliers Monroe Friedlander.
"He's definitely is a game changer."
The proposed new hotel, located in an area known as Club Lanai, will include 100-bungalo-style hotel rooms patterned after the Kona Villages resort on the Big Island and will complement his much larger Lodge at Koele and the Manele Bay hotels.
The Four Seasons hotel chain will likely be the operator.
The new hotel plans were disclosed by Kurt Matsumoto, chief operating officer of Ellison's Lanai Resorts LLC, who met with the Lanai Community Plan Advisory Committee on Thursday night.
Since purchasing Lanai back in June, Ellison has turned the island into a boom town by upgrading its two hotels and renovating community parks, swimming pools and the island's former plantation housing facilities.
"There's a sense of optimism and hope. Our unemployment level is under 2 percent. There's so much activity here they're having to bring in workers from off island," said Butch Gima, president of the community group Lanaians for Sensible Growth.
The deal comes as Ellison is reportedly finalizing plans to purchase Island Air, the state's third largest interisland carrier.
Ellison's representatives told members of the Lanai Community Plan Advisory Committee that they are working with the state to build the second runway at the Lanai airport.
"By adding airlift capacity to the island, you're bringing your consumers to the market place to spend that money," Hamasu said.