Makena Resort for sale
Seibu Group's property includes 1,000 acres of land zoned for further development
Japan-based Seibu Group has placed the Makena Resort on the market.
There is no asking price for the 1,800-acre master-planned resort, but Seibu expects to command top dollar for the property, which includes the 310-room Maui Prince Hotel, two championship golf courses and lands zoned for potential future development.
Donn Takahashi, president of Prince Resorts Hawaii, said the company would continue to operate other Seibu Group properties, including the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki. None of those properties are expected to go on the market, he said.
"Business at our Hawaii hotels and golf courses is excellent with high occupancies and strong bookings for the foreseeable future," said Takahashi. "We have established a good clientele for the Prince brand in Hawaii and this will only continue to grow."
Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels has been retained to handle the Maui transaction.
Approximately 500 employees were informed of the news on Friday. Takahashi added that there would be no noticeable change at the Maui Prince Hotel or golf courses during the sales process.
The Maui Prince Hotel, which opened in 1986, offers rooms overlooking a secluded beach along with restaurants, meeting, ballroom and banquet facilities.
This year is on track to set some records for resort properties, given computer mogul Michael Dell's joint venture acquisition this summer of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island for more than $500 million.
The Seibu Group called the current resort market "a window of opportunity," especially since it is offering more than 1,000 acres of land zoned for further development.
It first invested in Makena on the south shore of Maui 30 years ago, building much of what now exists at the resort.
But Seibu's parent company has been trouble-ridden for some time -- shareholders voted late last year to reorganize the company after its executives were charged with insider trading and falsified documents.
Last year, four heirs of the Seibu Railway Co. also filed suit against the conglomerate, seeking ownership claim over the Hawaii properties to prevent their sale.
The suit was tossed out by a judge early this year.
"It's the tail end of cycle of Japanese disinvestment from Hawaii," said Joseph Toy, president of Hospitality Advisors. "The Prince portfolio is one of the few large holdings of a Japanese-owned hotel remaining in the state. With the parent company having difficulties, it's been long anticipated that a portion of this portfolio would be on the market."
Toy said Makena was a desirable location, given that it's next to Wailea, which is the top-performing hotel market in the state.
In Japan, Seibu's holdings include commuter rail, freight trucking, and express bus services, and the Seibu Lions baseball team. It owns hotels, golf courses and ski resorts from Canada to Singapore and Malaysia.