Alexander & Baldwin buys part of Kailua

By Paul Drewes
Published On: Nov 20 2013 11:23:22 PM HST
Updated On: Nov 21 2013 06:40:49 AM HST

Alexander and Baldwin will be the new owners of downtown Kailua and residents hope for positive outcomes for their community.

HONOLULU -

Downtown Kailua will get a new owner as a big name in Hawaii real estate adds to its island portfolio.

Fifteen acres of downtown Kailua and hundreds of other windward Oahu acres have been sold to a company many in Hawaii are already familiar with: Alexander and Baldwin.

Click here to see Paul Drewes' report.

"We're very excited, not just about buying these assets, but about becoming a part of the Kailua community and the stewardship responsibilities that entails," said A&B President Christopher Benjamin.

"I do have expectations they will serve the community better overall. They understand our diversity and history. So it is positive expectations instead of concerns at this point," said Kailua resident Jaime Eustaquio.

A&B bought the more than 600 acres of land because its leaders believe the commercial district around Kailua has a lot of value.

Benjamin said A & B has no immediate plans for any more projects in the already bustling community..

"We haven't made the assumption there would be near-term development. We can be patientand we can base it on what the community needs," said Benjamin.

A number of Windward Oahu residents feel their voice has not been heard when it comes to past development for Kailua town.

"Being a local company hopefully A&B will be interested in hearing what the community has to say about what we want for Kailua," said Lanikai resident Wendy Ferri.

A & B will pay Kaneohe Ranch and the Castle Foundation $373 million for their share of Kailua, a town with international appeal and its own charm.

"We are going to do what is right to enhance and preserve the charm of Kailua," added Benjamin.

Some residents feel even without future development for Kailua, the town's charm has already started fade.

"I live in Kaneohe now. I feel like I was pushed out. I'm wondering what they are going to make of the sale. There have been so many changes over the years, some of them good for businesses. Now this place is really starting to look like the mainland," said former Kailua resident Peni Puaauli.

The sale is expected to close by the end of the year. To pay for the purchase, A & B is selling off several mainland properties.

Benjamin said one of the reasons for that is because the company knows the Hawaii market better, another is because this prime portfolio of real estate rarely comes on the market.

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