Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, May 17, 2001

Pacific Guardian land purchased for $24 million

The leasehold owner of the 31-story twin-tower Pacific Guardian Center on Bishop Street has purchased the land underneath the building for $24 million.

Meijiseimei Realty (USA) Inc. bought the 1.53 acres last week from nonprofit hospital operator Kapiolani Health Systems.

Meijiseimei is a unit of Meiji Life Insurance Co. of Tokyo. Pacific Guardian Life Insurance Co. is a local Meiji Life unit that manages the center, which was renamed this year from Grosvenor Center. Pacific Guardian has 139 employees in Hawaii.

Last year, Meijiseimei bought the 50 percent leasehold interest in the building that it didn't already own from developer Grosvenor International (Hawaii) Ltd.

Kapiolani hired real estate firm Colliers Monroe Friedlander to market the property last year after previous talks fell through with Meijiseimei.

Macadamia-Mauna Loa nut hearing postponed

A Hilo court hearing in a contract dispute between ML Macadamia Orchards and Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp. has been postponed until June 4.

At the hearing, originally scheduled for tomorrow, ML Macadamia Orchards hopes to force Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp. to pay for over a million pounds of nuts that Mauna Loa rejected as unusable.

Mauna Loa, the packing and marketing company acquired last year by a San Francisco-based investment company, the Shansby Group, says the contracts it has with the grower, ML Macadamia, don't require it to pay for unusable nuts.

ML Macadamia, which blamed a $416,000 loss in the first quarter of this year partly on Mauna Loa's refusal to pay, says Mauna Loa's position is wrong and that while some of the contracts do allow for the deduction of unusable nuts, others don't.

Iolani team wins Economics Challenge

A team from Iolani School was one of four regional winners in a national Economics Challenge competition last week and now advances to the finals in New York City Sunday.

The competition, which tested their knowledge of complex economic concepts and theories, was sponsored by the National Council on Economic Education.

As the western regional winner, the Iolani team was led by teacher Richard Rankin and included students Gina Ciang, Tierre Mayuri Fahl, Joel David Minoru Hamaguchi, and Christopher William Putre. Each will receive a $1,000 savings bond and an all-expense paid trip to New York City to compete. Rankin in April won the Nasdaq National Teaching Award in New York.

The Hawaii, Connecticut, Iowa and Ohio teams outscored rivals from 18 other states.

The regional competition was held via the Internet. The championship round will be held May 21 at the New York High School of Economics and Finance. Each member of the winning team and their teacher will receive a $5,000 savings bond. The second place team members will win a $2,500 bond.

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