Tuesday, February 13, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, February 13, 2001

$24 million project on Maui goes on market

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

i developer Stanford S. Carr, who bought Maui-based Hawaii Land & Farming Co. 15 months ago, has hired a global real estate marketer to sell the company’s main asset, the 470-acre residential and commercial project in Wailuku known as Kehalani.

Carr recently retained Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Kennedy-Wilson International to market the master-planned community, which he redesigned after buying Hawaii Land in November 1999 in a deal valued at more than $24 million.

The project is approved for construction of 2,048 single-family homes, multi-family residences, a commercial center, school and park.

Kennedy-Wilson said it is producing a sales package for distribution later this month. No asking price has been set. Sealed bids will be accepted through March 14.

Carr said he is putting the massive project on the market, instead of developing it, to spread the company’s risk and make cash available for other real estate development opportunities in Hawaii.

"There’s a lot of opportunity now with Hawaii’s economy getting stronger," he said yesterday. "We want to be strategically positioned to take advantage of opportunistic opportunities, and diversify our portfolio."

Carr, president of SCD International and Hawaii Land, is developing homes in Wailuku, Hawaii Kai and Kona as well as "a few other projects in the works right now that are under the radar screen. We’ve got a lot going on."

Maui real estate brokers said it makes sense, given the current strong market, for Carr to try to capitalize on his investment by letting someone else develop Kehalani, an 8- to 10-year project.

"The inventory is getting eaten up," said Don Emigh, a broker at Prudential Maui Realtors Inc. who said he’s seeing four to five residential sales for every listing.

Kennedy-Wilson said dwindling supply, combined with a rising population, job growth and personal income on Maui have pushed median resale prices up by as much as 30 percent for single-family homes and 20 percent for condos — figures local brokers say aren’t out of line.

Kehalani is also one of only two master-planned Maui developments ready to build, according to Kennedy-Wilson and local brokers.

Ed Bello of Bello Realty Inc. said Kehalani’s Central Maui location isn’t a high-end resort product, but its proximity to schools, shopping centers, churches and golf courses appeals to kamaaina buyers.

"It’s a very desirable community," he said. "It’s where a lot of locals like to live. It’s where their parents live. It’s where their grandparents grew up. It’s where they went to school. It’s where their roots are."

If Carr sells Kehalani, he would retain a fraction of Hawaii Land’s assets gained when he bought the company. Carr paid $4 million and assumed more than $20 million of Hawaii Land debt to acquire 2,700 developable acres on Maui, the Big Island and Kauai plus options to buy another 2,500 acres.

In the purchase process and up until now, Carr has sold all but a couple hundred acres on the Big Island, 50 acres on Kauai, Kehalani’s 470 acres, plus a separate "small amount" of Maui land, he said. Carr retains options on 1,800 acres.

Hawaii Land was formerly a unit of Hawaii-based C. Brewer & Co. Ltd. Known as C. Brewer Homes, it was taken public in 1993 and incurred major losses as the Hawaii housing market dried up over the past decade. In 1998, the cash-strapped firm withdrew from homebuilding and was delisted by the Nasdaq stock market after a failed merger with another former C. Brewer company, ML Macadamia Orchard LP. Carr bought out majority shareholders a year later and took the company private last March.

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