Kona business park planned
By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands expects to lease 200 acres of Big Island property to developers from Hawai'i and Georgia who propose establishing a West Hawai'i business park.
Jim Jacoby of Atlanta-based Jacoby Development Inc. partnered with Big Island developer Fred Yamashiro of Menehune Development Co. for the business park lease, which state officials said they expect to sign within the next 45 days.
The agreement will generate at least $19 million for Hawaiian Home Lands over the first 25 years of the lease. According to bid guidelines, rent would be renegotiated for the remaining life of the lease, which runs no more than 65 years.
The deal will help homestead programs move toward self-sufficiency by generating income after annual reparation payments from the state end in 2013, said Mike McElroy, land management administrator for the department.
The business park lease also could help the developers in a bid to lease a neighboring site for creation of a resort on Department of Land & Natural Resources property between the Old Kona Airport and Honokohau Small Boat Harbor.
If built, the combined business park and marina resort would pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the Big Island economy over many years.
Project details are not being disclosed because the Hawaiian Home Lands lease is not final and because a request for lease proposals has yet to be issued by the Land Department for its 350-acre site.
In April the Board of Land and Natural Resources authorized a request for development proposals for the property, which includes oceanfront land makai of the Hawaiian Home Lands site below Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway.
Yamashiro said he expects the request for bids by the end of the year and anticipates three or four private development groups to respond. But he said he and Jacoby hope to have an advantage because they can integrate the adjacent business park development.
"It would be a more comprehensive project," he said. "That will give their land more value."
Yamashiro said general ideas he and Jacoby are considering for the Land Department property include an expanded marina, a hotel, timeshare units, restaurants and perhaps a fisherman's market along the lines of Pike Place Market in Seattle.
Jacoby declined to elaborate, saying their proposal is formative and subject to state approval. But he said he is including the community in the planning process and bases his projects on environmentally and socially responsible growth.
On the Mainland, Jacoby is transforming a 138-acre former Atlanta steel mill site into a community with homes, hotels, offices, retail and entertainment centers called Atlantic Station. The developer reported spending $10 million to clean up what is regarded as one of the country's largest brown-fields, properties that may have hazardous contaminants.
Other Jacoby projects include turning a 70-year-old marine theme park in Florida into a research resort, and developing a big-box retail site on a former limestone quarry in Maryland. Jacoby also has experience with retirement housing, a genetically enhanced shrimp farm and shopping centers.
"We like to do smart-growth projects," he said, adding that he envisions a live-work-play community in North Kona.
Yamashiro's experience historically has been working with other developers, but in recent years he has developed the 225 home La'i'opua village for Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries. Yamashiro is working on a 45-lot development for the department in Kapolei and a similar project on Moloka'i.
Whether Jacoby and Yamashiro can obtain a lease for the Land Department's 350 acres remains to be seen. But Yamashiro said the team will begin site work on the Hawaiian Home Lands property in the next few months.
Even if the development team is awarded the Land Department lease, Yamashiro said it would take a couple of years of planning and engineering work before any construction could begin.
Reach Andrew Gomes at email@example.com or 525-8065.