HILO, Hawaii — A fence will be constructed around the dilapidated Uncle Billy’s hotel in Hilo to stop the continued illegal occupation of the site, according to a Department of Land and Natural Resources news release. 

What You Need To Know

  • Uncle Billy’s closed in 2017 and was later condemned

  • The closed hotel has been used by squatters and was the site of a fire last year

  • On Friday, DLNR officials removed vegetation around the hotel so a fence can be constructed around it

  • DLNR is working towards demolshing the building

Uncle Billy’s closed in 2017 and was later condemned because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Used as an illegal shelter by squatters, the three-story building has been the site of multiple sweeps and was damaged by a fire last year. 

In July, Gov. Josh Green issued an emergency proclamation to allow the state to quickly demolish the condemned hotel. While the proclamation expedited some of the regulatory processes associated with the demolition, it does not exempt the not-yet-selected demolition contractor from securing material disposal certificates, according to DLNR. 

On Friday, officials cleared overgrown vegetation surrounding the hotel, which will allow Andrew’s Fencing LLC to build a fence this month around the perimeter of the 148-room hotel. 

In order to demolish Uncle Billy’s, this year the Legislature appropriated $8 million in reimbursable general obligation bonds funds that DLNR will pay back over time with interest. 

DLNR Chair Dawn Chang said removing the building would ease health and safety concerns. It will also allow the site to be revitalized for economic development or recreational opportunities. 

Once Uncle Billy’s is demolished and restored to bare ground, DLNR will consult with the public and make recommendations to the Land Board about the site’s future use. This will include an updated strategic assessment of the Banyan Drive area to facilitate redevelopment. 

Another Banyan Drive priority is the renovation of the former Country Club Condominium Hotel. Currently, DLNR is negotiating a development agreement for this project with Banyan Drive Management LLC.