Maunakea Marketplace sold for $15 million
The Chinatown retail center was sold to a California firm
Local real estate investor Joe Leoni has sold the Maunakea Marketplace in downtown Honolulu to focus on acquiring other real estate.
Leoni's Maunakea Ventures LLC sold the 55,000-square-foot marketplace for $15 million to California-based Gibraltar Holdings LLC, in a deal that closed on Jan. 19.
Leoni said he was approached by Gibraltar and five other investors to buy the marketplace.
Gibraltar, itself made up of 17 smaller mainland investors, plans to keep the existing tenant mix of mom-and-pop restaurants, retailers and gift shops. The marketplace has a food court and open market with 80 tenants. Gibraltar also owns the Poipu Shopping Village on Kauai.
Commercial transactions in Chinatown totaled $31 million in 2006, according to Mike Hamasu, director of consulting and research for Colliers Monroe Friedlander Inc.
About $18 million worth of properties are currently for sale in Chinatown.
"It's part of an overall trend of the increased interest of investing in real estate," Hamasu said. "If you're a small investor and you wanted to buy property you'd typically target those you can afford in the $1 million and $2 million range. That's the type of property situated in Chinatown -- that's kind of the sweet spot for small investors."
Leoni bought the formerly run-down property in foreclosure for nearly $8 million in 2002, when it had a vacancy rate of 30 percent. The current vacancy rate is 2 percent.
Leoni said selling the marketplace lets him turn his attention to buying other properties, particularly financially-troubled sites that need repositioning.
"Maunakea Marketplace is kind of mature and I prefer to buy properties that need my attention," he said.
The center, built in 1990, generates about $2 million in annual revenue with an average rent of between $2,100 and $2,500 per month.
Leoni also owns four other Chinatown properties, including the 25,000-square-foot Chinatown Marketplace and the Kekaulike Market, which is roughly 8,000 square feet.