A traditional Hawaii blessing on Friday marked the start of demolition work at the Keauhou Beach Hotel in Kona.
After more than 40 years in business, the building – which is built on a piece of property that also includes a heiau – is being taken down to make way for a Native Hawaii learning center.
Area residents have been assured that the heiau will continue to be preserved while demolition is taking place.
"Before the hotel was erected, our heiau was being cared for by the lineal descendents of this area," said Kaimana Barcarse, Kamehameha Schools' regional directior of West Hawaii. "Even through their time of the hotel, they've kept up their ties because it's such a special place."
Although the building is being taken down, Barcarse says the memories made there will remain.
"We don't really look at this as the end of an era," he said. "We look at this as part of the genealogy, the history."