Hawai'i State News

Demolition of former Uncle Billy’s Hotel set to begin

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Asbestos abatement work on the former Uncle Billy’s Hotel along Hilo’s historic Banyan Drive, will begin next week.

Isemoto Contracting Company, Ltd., a locally owned Hilo company, is the demolition contractor that began mobilizing equipment yesterday.

Over the past two and half months, officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement have maintained a constant, around-the-clock presence at the former Uncle Billy’s Resort and Hotel on Banyan Drive.

The division’s last shift ended at 6 p.m. yesterday. Since Sept. 13, two officers on each day and night shifts watched over the completely fenced property. During that time there were two breaches in the chain-link fence surrounding the property, but no one was cited or warned.


For the last few years, people had been living in the dilapidated structure, which was made even more dangerous after the discovery of asbestos. Abating the hazardous material will be required before the demolition contractor begins knocking the building down and clearing the property.

Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Dawn Chang said, “We realize how long the greater Hawai‘i Island community, and folks in Hilo particularly have waited for work to begin at Uncle Billy’s. We appreciate everyone’s patience, as our primary concern has always been everyone’s health and safety. Making this building uninhabitable was key to realizing that goal.”

As Isemoto Contracting removes asbestos from one part of the structure, demolition work can begin in those locations. Both hazard abatement and demolition are scheduled to be completed by next November.


Procurement, permitting, and bidding requirements were expedited under an emergency proclamation issued by Gov. Josh Green.

The ultimate future use of the property has not been determined and will involve significant input and thinking from Hilo and Banyan Drive stakeholders.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairʻs Office and the Department of Land and Natural Resources Land and Engineering Divisions continue to collaborate on the Uncle Billy’s project with Hawai‘i Island Mayor Mitch Roth’s office, county departments, the county council, and area state legislators.


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