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Thursday, May 19, 2005
King, who acquired 79 acres of nearby land in 2003 from various Castle and Baldwin family trusts, said yesterday the transaction will close when he can sell an apartment building he owns in Texas. The Kapaa Quarry Road land purchase is in a yearlong escrow because King wants to do a tax-deferred exchange with the Texas property.
King, 63, said he has no plans for the land.
"I'm just going to land-bank it," he said. "I just see the potential value of land and just thought it was a prudent investment on my part to buy it. It's zoned P-1 so you can put schools on it, cemeteries on it ... it's a very restricted use and a lot of the land is very steep so it's probably impossible to build on it."
King said he has no plans to rezone the land to build housing on the Windward side, where available homes are limited.
"I think that would be a big fight," he said. "I have my hands full here building my warehouses. I'm not interested in putting houses on that property.
"I didn't buy the land as an environmentalist. I bought it as a businessman, but I don't have any plans for it at the present."
The property extends to the ridge beginning at Castle Junction, where the state recently carved back a hillside to prevent landslides. It goes around the 24 acres owned by Le Jardin Windward Oahu Academy and proceeds to a garbage transfer station owned by the city. On the other side of the station is the land that King bought two years ago. That property has 22.5 acres zoned for light industry and warehouses, with the rest of the 79 acres zoned for preservation that includes special commercial uses.
King, a former Marine Corps fighter pilot who spent 18 years flying for Aloha Airlines before retiring in 1987, said the property he bought in 2003 keeps him busy. His warehouses occupy 170,000 square feet of leasable space, and he's planning on building another 300,000 square feet as demand dictates. He has 40 existing tenants, with another 33,000 square feet preleased to nine or 10 additional tenants.
Among some of his tenants are Hardware Hawaii; Hawaiian Earth Products, a green-waste facility that recycles grass and tree clippings; A-1 Master Roofing; and Ameron Hawaii. Another tenant is King & Zelko Hawaiian Woodworks, of which King is part owner along with son Paul, daughter Laura and businessman Tom Zelko.
Across the street from the industrial park is the 1,000-acre Kawainui Marsh.
King said he knew the land he agreed to purchase was on the market and received a reminder of it everyday on the way to work at All Pool & Spa.
"It's like buying a piece of art," he said. "I don't think I'll do anything with it in my lifetime, but I think my children or my grandchildren will do something with that property. The fact that I'm contiguous to it and drive by it everyday, I can keep an eye on it and keep dumpers out."
Kapaa Quarry Road has had a long-standing problem of illegal dumping even though the transfer station will accept trash, tires and large items without charge.
"People want to dump things on the side of the road for some reason and we have a quarterly clean-up where we take it off," King said.