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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 1:37 p.m., Thursday, November 14, 2002

Renaissance Wailea hotel will be sold

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

In a move to clear up bad loans in Japan, Shinwa Golf Group has agreed to sell the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort hotel and five Hawai'i golf courses.

Shinwa Hawai'i, which announced the debt-restructuring agreement today, said it expects to find a buyer and complete a sale sometime next year, after which it hopes its roughly 300 employees will be able to continue to operate what the company said are profitable assets.

"Unfortunately, economic conditions have forced us to focus on our core business in Japan, and to reluctantly consent to the sale of our Hawai'i assets," Mitsuo Kokufu, Shinwa Golf Group's owner, said in a statement.

Shinwa owns the 345-room Wailea hotel, three golf courses at Wailea Golf Club, two courses at Kauai Lagoons Golf Club and about 250 acres of undeveloped land in Wailea.

The Kyoto-based company also owns and operates eight golf courses in Japan, which it will keep under terms of the debt restructuring.

The loan trouble started two years ago when the Resolution and Collection Corp. seized Shinwa's loans from collapsed financial institution Nippon Credit Bank, principal lender for Shinwa's nearly $1 billion investment in Hawai'i.

The RCC, a Japanese government agency charged with reducing astronomical numbers of delinquent loans, demanded Shinwa liquidate its Hawai'i assets to reduce the amount of its debt in return for retaining the Japan courses and paying off its loan balance over 12 years.

Shinwa Hawai'i spokeswoman Luly Unemori said the RCC is handling the sale, though over the last year or so unsolicited offers have been made for Shinwa's prized assets in one of the state's strongest resort markets.

Douglas Pothul, senior vice president of local commercial real estate firm Colliers Monroe Friedlander, said there will be obvious interest from large resort

operators such as Hilton, Fairmont and Marriott, which manages the Renaissance for Shinwa.

"You cannot rule out anyone," he said. "Everybody with a big name and deep pockets is a prospect for those assets."

But it's unlikely that Shinwa will receive a price comparable to what it paid more than 10 years ago for the assets, because property values are generally lower today, real estate analysts said.

Shinwa bought the land under and around the Wailea hotel and two golf courses for $197.5 million from Alexander & Baldwin in 1989, during the height of the Japanese real estate acquisition boom. Two years later, it acquired the hotel and two Kaua'i golf courses. Shinwa also built a third course and clubhouse at Wailea.

Shinwa's investment in Hawai'i, including a $40 million renovation of the hotel, totaled between $800 million and $900 million. Unemori said the company has not assessed the current value of the property and no asking price has been set.

Pothul said if a buyer acquires Shinwa's Hawai'i assets together, Shinwa should get a better price, but how much the properties could fetch is hard to tell.

"Everything today is based on cash flow," he said. "They're not paying for blue sky. It really depends on how it's been operating." Shinwa will get a good price, he added, "if it's doing well."

Reach Andrew Gomes at agomes@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8065.