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Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Maunawili golf
course being sold

The Weinberg Foundation
reportedly is the buyer of the
Luana Hills Country Club

By Tim Ruel

The Japan-based owners of the Luana Hills Country Club in Maunawili have agreed to sell the 18-hole golf course, reportedly to a unit of the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

"We have a firm contract to purchase the property," said Doug Pothul, real estate representative of seller Pan-Pacific Development Inc. "It was signed Monday."

Pothul would not confirm the identity of the buyer or the price. But sources familiar with the deal said a for-profit arm of the nonprofit Weinberg Foundation is paying about $10 million for the 1,084-acre site.

Weinberg officials could not be reached for comment.

The nonprofit has previously shown an interest in buying the Makaha Resort, which also has a golf course.

In a filing today with the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, the seller said the deal should close in late December. All of the club's 64 employees will be laid off, but they are expected to have an opportunity to re-apply for their jobs.

Pan-Pacific, originally a lender to the course, acquired it for $35 million in a 1995 foreclosure auction after the property's developer built up $50 million in debt. The developer, Y.Y. Valley Corp., also owed the city about $1 million in property taxes. Pan-Pacific had entered the sole bid for Luana Hills.

"Through no choice of their own, (Pan-Pacific) ended up with the property," Pothul said. The company put the course on the market at the beginning of the year.

Several local buyers were looking at Luana Hills, said Guy Kidder, another real estate representative of Pan-Pacific.

Luana Hills, formerly known as the Royal Hawaiian Country Club, is at the base of the Koolau Range in Maunawili. Earlier this year, the city adopted a public facilities map amendment to designate the site as a park. That does not affect the sale, Pothul said. The city had also discussed buying Luana Hills, but never followed through.

"(Pan-Pacific) did not want to leave the course in the hands of someone who would cause an uproar in Kailua. So they chose the new owner very carefully," Pothul said. "A new day has dawned and there's a new owner, with capital."

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