Thursday, July 29, 2004

1,800 acres of land
on North Shore
up for sale

Campbell Estate says the sale
of its Kahuku properties is driven
by market conditions

A Campbell Estate affiliate plans to sell 1,800 acres of largely agricultural land north of Kahuku and use the proceeds to pay for further development of the estate's "second city" of Kapolei.

The lands are being put up for sale by Aina Nui Corp., one of the estate's property development arms. The properties are located along the coastline bordering the Turtle Bay Resort and a separate area mauka of Kamehameha Highway.

Proceeds from the sale of the land will be funneled largely into the development of the Kapolei West residential project, a planned 535-acre housing and golf course project that the estate wants to build between Kapolei and the Ko Olina resort.

"That's our major focus right now," said Donna Goth, president of Aina Nui Corp.

If the estate manages to sell the lands, it would further whittle down its once-huge holdings in the area. It currently owns about 3,600 acres along Oahu's northern tip, but has been steadily selling off its holdings there in recent years to divest non-core properties and use the profits to fund Kapolei's expansion.

Last year, the estate sold 600 acres near Laie to Hawaii Reserves Inc., the land management company of the Mormon church. Six years ago the estate sold about 8,000 nearby acres to the federal government that had been used for training by the Army for years, Goth said.

Campbell Estate spokeswoman Theresia McMurdo said market conditions were a factor in deciding to sell the current batch of properties.

"It's a very good time to sell. There is just so much demand now; we have to respond," she said.

McMurdo said the estate has received interest from several parties, but she declined to offer further details.

The lands to be sold are divided into seven parcels and leased mainly to farming interests, McMurdo said. The leases will expire at different times, and it will be up to potential buyers to deal with those leases.

The plan has some tenants in the area worried that they will be forced out.

John Ho, owner of the Hawaii Oahu Suisan shrimp hatchery, next to the Turtle Bay Resort, said the estate promised to give tenants like him first shot at buying the lands. But he has not heard a price yet and fears it will be too high.

"If they offer it for a reasonable price, we'll try to get some money together and buy it. But this land is right near the ocean, and that doesn't sell cheaply," he said.

Ho said if a buyer comes in with development plans, it is unlikely his business will survive, given the difficulties of finding suitable land for a shrimp hatchery.

"If someone comes in and wants to develop, they'll definitely kick us out, and we'll be out of business," Ho said.

The lands are zoned for agricultural use, and any buyer that wants to develop them will have go through the long process of rezoning.

Meanwhile, Aina Nui is gathering community input on the Kapolei West project, which will include a golf course and more than 2,000 homes.

The Estate of James Campbell is one of Hawaii's largest private landowners, with 59,700 acres in Hawaii as of the end of 2003 -- 26,600 acres of that on Oahu, McMurdo said.

Campbell Estate

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