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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 19, 2010

Tour of county land for sale attracts only 2 prospects

Advertiser Staff

Only two prospective buyers attended a publicly announced guided tour of Hāmākua parcels that Hawai'i County Mayor Billy Kenoi has put up for bid to help balance recession-year budgets, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

County Property Manager Ken Van Bergen had expected more people to show up for Wednesday's tour, but several said a weekday isn't convenient for the approximately four hours of travel and tour time.

Van Bergen said he may do a Saturday tour in the future.

The prospects Marc Mishkin of Ka'ū, and Joe Steinbach of Colorado were more interested in the smaller parcels than the more mauka larger ones, and they seemed satisfied that some of the smaller ones offered the ocean views that made the land desirable. The views from some parcels, however, are obscured by eucalyptus forests.

The county has put 15 parcels totaling 719 acres and worth $5.9 million up for sealed bids. Parcels range from a 12.8-acre lot for a minimum $216,000 bid to a 109.5-acre one for a minimum $615,000 bid.

Bid openings are scheduled for March 31, April 7 and 14 and May 24.

The county acquired the land 15 years ago in lieu of taxes from bankrupt Hamakua Sugar Co.

Van Bergen said after the tour that the county's Web site, www.paauilolandsales.com, has been viewed by people from 19 countries, including countries in Asia, North and South America, the Middle East and Europe.

He said the county has been advertising the past few weeks in the Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and Denver Post. Advertisements in the New York Times and Washington Post should also start soon, he said.