Aiea Ag center moving to Kunia
The Hawaii Agriculture Research Center has sold its Aiea Heights laboratory and headquarters and is planning a move to Kunia.
The 75,911-square-foot Robert L. Cushing Building now belongs to Arroyo Realty Partners of Los Angeles, which acquired it in early October for $20.6 million.
The research center -- a nonprofit group formerly known as the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association, which was founded in 1895 -- has purchased more than 100 acres of Central Oahu agricultural land in Kunia for about $4 million from the Campbell Estate.
Total square feet: 75,911
Former owner: Hawaii Agriculture Research Center
New owner: Arroyo Realty Partners
Tenants: HARC, Hawaii Biotech, U.S. General Services Administration
Stephanie Whalen, the center's president, said yesterday the group sold the building to focus on its agriculture experiment station in Kunia. Eventually, it plans to build its own lab and office there.
"This is a very good site for Leeward agriculture," said Whalen. "It's some of the best ag land left here on the island of Oahu in terms of soil, location and water. The idea is to do our lab work and field work at the same site."
The center specializes in a broad range of agricultural research, from developing disease-resistant sugar cane to coffee breeding, papaya seed production, and corn seed production for local farmers.
The group built the Aiea structure in 1975 after being kicked out of its former facility in Makiki.
Whalen said both the Aiea and Kunia property sales closed on Oct. 5. Plans for the new research center in Kunia are still preliminary, she said. In the meantime, the center will lease its current space at the Cushing Building.
Dana Peiterson and Steve Keil of CB Richard Ellis Hawaii brokered the transaction.
The building is nearly 100 percent occupied, with about nine tenants that include Hawaii Biotech and the U.S. General Services Administration.
Arroyo Realty also acquired Airport Center in Honolulu in late 2004, and the Ocean View Center and Haseko Center in downtown Honolulu last year.
Jennifer Taylor, a principal at Arroyo Realty, said the investment group found the Cushing building attractive because it's the only privately run wet-lab space on the island.
The center offers fully-equipped labs with their own HVAC systems, along with a temperature-controlled tissue culture room, standalone concrete storage building, locker rooms, showers and plenty of free parking.
The group, which also has a portfolio of properties in Los Angeles and San Francisco, is actively seeking other Honolulu investments.