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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Hilo's Waiakea Center bought

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

A California-based real estate investment firm has bought the Big Island's second-largest retail complex, Waiakea Center in Hilo, for about $18 million, and is considering future expansion of the big-box retail complex on state land.

The property, anchored by Wal-Mart, Borders Books & Music, OfficeMax and Ross, was sold by its developer, Big Island-based Maryl Group, to Irvine, Calif.-based Diversified Equity Investment Corp.

Maryl built the 231,000-square-foot complex in 1997 on 18 acres of land leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Diversified Equity, a private firm that mainly invests in shopping centers, would like to expand Waiakea Center on adjacent DHHL property, according to its local real estate broker, Wendell Brooks III of PM Realty Group, which was retained to manage the property.

DHHL has four or five acres behind Wal-Mart that could be suitable, according to Mark Richards, Maryl president.

Richards said Maryl didn't explore expansion because part of the adjacent property was returned to DHHL and rezoned only recently, after Waiakea Center's sale had been negotiated.

A DHHL representative familiar with the Hilo site was not available yesterday, but the department has been expanding its commercial property leasing efforts to increase revenue to help the agency become self-sufficient and better support Native Hawaiian programs.

Diversified Equity owns real estate valued at roughly $2 billion. In Hawai'i, the investment firm is part-owner of Piilani Village Shopping Center on Maui, and Crossroads Center, a Big Island retail complex in Kailua-Kona developed by Maryl.

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