- Associated Press - Friday, January 8, 2016

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A Hilo hotel that has been serving guests for more than 50 years on the Big Island is closing its doors.

Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel, owned by the Kimi family, will be shutting down Feb. It stopped taking reservations last fall.

Aaron Whiting, hotel manager and grandson of founder William Kimi Jr., said several factors, including the expiration of the hotel’s lease, have led to the closure.

“We have spent more than simply money in attorney’s fees, appraisal evaluations, business plans and, not to mention, keeping an aging property in service beyond its functional capacity; we have exhausted our emotional reserves,” he said in a press release. “It seemed unimaginable that our little iconic Hawaiian hotel that so reflects the heart and soul of the Hilo community, would one day not exist.”

The hotel’s closure will result in 27 employees losing their jobs, including 10 who work for Uncle Billy’s General Store, which is also shutting down.

The 145-room hotel, which opened in the 1960s, will be liquidating all of its property on site. The sale will begin Feb. 5 and continue until all items are gone.

The Kimi family’s hotel in Kailua-Kona will remain open.

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