Kahunaville Closes on Wilmington Waterfront
November 28, 2006 (WPVI) -- It's called Kahunaville, and for years it was the center of nightlife in Wilmington. And then just like that, it was gone. It's not just a matter of losing a place to play, but for well over 100 people, it's losing a place to work.
It's the only place in town with a giant tree in its restaurant. Kahunaville, a popular family friendly restaurant by day and a hot spot by night, is closing its doors. The news announced Tuesday to many of the 135 employees.
DJ Gizmo, an employee at Kahunaville says, "Unfortunately everybody is in the same boat. You know, it's a month from the holidays, so that's the toughest part. Everybody is shocked."
Owner David Tuttleman had this to say, "The employees didn't see it coming and the guests didn't see it coming. But I did, for years."
David Tuttleman opened Kahunaville 13-years ago. The unusual decor, and a huge arcade was a big attraction. An outdoor deck for live concerts was another major attraction - one that became a source of complaints from people moving into new condos.
"It's just kinda time for a property of this size to change and I tried to change it. I tried to sell it."
But when the sale fell through late Monday Tuttleman decided he would not open Kahunaville Tuesday, so lunchtime customers were turned away.
With LL Bean announcing it too is leaving Wilmington, the fate of riverfront development appears to be in trouble. But with condos, businesses and possibly a hotel coming soon, this visionary says it's not.
"It's not a set back. We're not happy about it because there's people involved and there's a lot of sentimentality to the project that we've lived with for so long but it's not a set back," said Mike Purzycki of the Riverfront Development Corporation.
Outside a giant volcano had become a landmark in Wilmington. But Tuttleman suspects anyone who buys this building wont have much use for a volcano, so it along with the club and restaurant will have to go.
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