Saturday, January 20, 2001
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Posted on: Saturday, January 20, 2001

Haseko Homes tries again to sell Pu'uhonua Estates property

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

i home builder Haseko Homes Inc. is renewing efforts to sell an undeveloped 125-acre residential subdivision on the Big Island, as part of an ongoing plan to focus operations in Central Oahu.

The property, mauka of the Keahole International Airport just north of Kailua-Kona, is the company’s last "nonessential" real estate holding in the Islands. The fee-simple parcel, known as Puuhonua Estates, is zoned for about 550 single-family and multifamily units.

Haseko Homes bought the parcel in 1988 for $2.7 million, and had it rezoned to allow construction of up to 548 units and a commercial center. Between 1992 and 1993, the developer installed infrastructure on part of the property and sold roughly 25 of 50 lots to individuals, some of whom built homes.

"The economy kind of changed on the Big Island, and it was no longer practical to pursue that," said Peter Herndon, executive vice president of Haseko Hawaii Inc., parent of Haseko Homes.

Since then, Hawaii County amended its development agreement with Haseko to reduce a requirement for affordable units from 30 percent to 10 percent, reduce a contribution for public facilities from $1.1 million to about $465,000, and create a 4-acre park on the property to preserve archaeological sites.

"We have spent considerable time and effort bringing this development to the point that it is ready to be built out by another developer or one or more home builders with their vision applied to each of the neighborhoods," Herndon said.

Over the last several months, following about a yearlong attempt to sell the property, Haseko has secured water rights for 204 units, dropped its asking price by about 20 percent to $4 million, and hired local real estate firm Colliers Monroe Friedlander to find a buyer.

Proceeds will be used to further develop Ocean Pointe, Haseko’s master-planned community on Oahu’s Ewa Plain.

Haseko is in its second phase of developing the 20-year, master-planned community on 1,100 acres off Fort Weaver Road. Plans include six subdivisions, a marina, golf course and resort hotel. At ths point, the developer is concentrating on the homes and the marina.

To date, Haseko has built and sold a little more than 300 units. It also is moving ahead with the 1,400-slip marina just west of Oneula Beach Park.

"It really does take a lot of energy to maintain the effort and quality of our Ewa project," Herndon said.

In the last two years, Haseko and its affiliates, subsidiaries of one of Japan’s largest condominium developers, have sold downtown Honolulu office buildings Haseko Center and Ocean View Center, as well as an interest in a Kauai hotel now known as the Radisson Kauai Beach Resort.

Haseko has been developing properties for more than 25 years in Hawaii. On Oahu it built the Liliuokalani Gardens At Waikiki as well as the Pacific Monarch and Island Colony hotels. On Maui, it built the Kaanapali Shores and Pioneer hotels. Most of the company’s projects subsequently were sold.

Haseko Hawaii’s parent company, Haseko Corp., has implemented major restructuring in Japan over the last two years, selling assets and cutting jobs to shed debt.

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