Friday, August 13, 1999

A&B buys two
downtown sites

The seller is Haseko Corp.,
which wants to focus on its
Leeward residential business

By Russ Lynch


A&B Alexander & Baldwin Inc. said it will pay $18 million for two downtown office buildings developed by subsidiaries of Japan-based Haseko Corp.

They are the Haseko Center at 820 Mililani St., completed in 1980 at a cost of $7 million, and the Ocean View Center next door, at 707 Richards St. The Ocean View Center was completed in 1987 at a cost of $11 million. Each building has eight stories.

Neither building was being actively marketed, said Peter Herndon, executive vice president of Haseko (Hawaii) Inc. He said Haseko was pleased when A&B showed an interest.

Haseko, which in May pulled out of the stalled Keeaumoku Street "super block" project, said its primary focus in Hawaii now is residential real estate development.

Its biggest project is a 1,100-acre master-planned community of nearly 5,000 homes in Leeward Oahu.

A&B, which will acquire the commercial buildings through a subsidiary, WDCI Inc., said it expects to close the deal next month.

Haseko The buildings will bring A&B's portfolio of commercial buildings in Hawaii and the mainland to more than 3.8 million square feet of leasable space, said W. Allen Doane, A&B president and chief executive officer.

"This acquisition demonstrates our confidence in the Hawaii real estate market and is part of A&B's ongoing strategy to diversify our real property assets further, both in terms of type and location," Doane said.

Both buildings have won awards from the Building Owners and Management Association, including recognition for outstanding design, landscaping and maintenance. Doane said the quality of Haseko's upkeep is one reason they are heavily occupied -- Haseko Center at 93 percent and Ocean View Center at 96 percent.

The two properties have a total of 160,000 square feet of leasable area. Haseko said the agreement calls for all existing tenant leases to be turned over to the A&B subsidiary and the leases will continue under their present terms.

A&B's stock, traded on the Nasdaq stock market, rose 12 1/2 cents today to close at $25.12 1/2.

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