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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 10, 2006

Land sale would create needed industrial space

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Campbell Estate is selling 100 acres of industrial-zoned land between Kapolei and Campbell Industrial Park. The deal could be worth more than $80 million and is expected to alleviate a shortage of space on O'ahu for large warehouses and base yards.

Karl Hedberg

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Relative scarcity of industrial business space on O'ahu has led Campbell Estate to put the biggest piece of undeveloped industrial-zoned land on the island up for sale in an offering expected to fetch more than $80 million.

The estate, through a broker, has begun marketing the 100-acre site between Kapolei and Campbell Industrial Park that likely will be the last major industrial property development in the Kapolei area for the foreseeable future.

A sale, expected by the end of the year, is intended to help satisfy demand in O'ahu's tight industrial market where a shortage exists, especially for large warehouse and base-yard space.

Colliers Monroe Friedlander, a local real estate firm representing the estate in the sale, said that at the end of last year only 1.8 percent of industrial business space on O'ahu was vacant, or 630,000 square feet, compared with 1.3 million square feet in 2001.

A mini-boom of industrial business space development is under way, with more than 900,000 square feet of new space expected to be built over the next year, but demand from expanding construction, retail and other industries in Hawai'i's strong economy should hold down the vacancy rate, Colliers said.

"We're in real dire straits in the marketplace right now," said Scott Mitchell, a Colliers Monroe Friedlander executive vice president.

Estate spokeswoman Theresia McMurdo said the private trust, which has been selling significant stakes of its Hawai'i property in recent years in part because of dramatic property value increases, decided to take advantage of the strong industrial market.

"This is really in response to market demand," she said.

Market conditions have attracted a wave of investors and developers who have bought up much available industrial real estate on O'ahu in the past several years.

This acquisition spree started in 2003 when Massachusetts-based HRPT Properties Trust bought 224 acres of developed industrial property between Honolulu Harbor and the airport from the Damon Estate for $480 million.

HRPT also bought 188 acres of mostly developed property at Campbell Industrial Park for $115.5 million from the estate last year.

Another big investor, California-based Jupiter Holdings LLC, bought about 90 acres at the neighboring Kapolei Business Park for $32 million in 2004 from Campbell Estate. That project now has only four smaller subdivided lots left for use.

Jupiter also bought the 54-acre undeveloped balance of the business park from the estate last year for $10 million, and within two months sold it for $22 million to another Mainland investor.

Mitchell said he expects the 54-acre site to be subdivided and sold to smaller industrial users or developers later this year or next year.

The 100-acre site for sale is expected to be subdivided and made available to smaller users in 2007 or 2008 if a sale proceeds as expected, Mitchell said.

Colliers began advertising the property in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week, after Campbell Estate had received 30 to 40 inquiries about buying the property. Mitchell said the company will try to maximize the purchase price by seeking competitive bids.

The projected sale price of at least $80 million includes compensation the estate expects from a buyer to help pay for infrastructure including roads, drainage and utilities.

A sale is subject to Campbell Estate finding suitable real estate to purchase as part of a tax-free exchange.

Reach Andrew Gomes at agomes@honoluluadvertiser.com.