Monday, November 16, 2015


November 15, 2015

For residents near popular trail, the ‘party’ never ends

By Lee Cataluna

Another car drives up.
“Make sure your valuables aren’t left in the car. There was a break-in just the other day,” Chris Nakamatsu warns. The tourists give an uneasy thank you.
It’s Saturday morning and it’s raining but they keep coming — tourists ill-prepared for mud 6 inches deep and no way to wash it off. Thousands of people hike on Maunawili Trail every week even though there are no parking spaces, no bathrooms, no signs to warn of hazardous conditions and no security.
The hikers are a constant imposition on the families who live in the quiet little neighborhood, a never-ending source of stress, like a loud, out-of-control party that rages for years. Indeed, social media has dubbed Maunawili “Oahu’s party waterfall.”
This story isn’t new. It’s been written earlier this year and last year and the year before that. Since then, nothing has changed, and that’s why it’s still a story.
Another car drives up. The driver sticks his head out. “Will people get mad if I park outside their house?”
“Yes, they will,” Nakamatsu tells him, though not unkindly. “Park at least four feet away from the driveway, don’t park on curbs or near the fire hydrants.”
Nakamatsu has lived in Maunawili since 2000 and is on the board of the neighborhood security watch. She has documented some of what she and her neighbors have had to endure.
Thieves case the area dressed as hikers. They bring baseball bats and smash car windows when no one is looking. The street glistens with tiny squares of safety glass. In August 2014, there were 13 car break-ins – which was a high. Ordinarily, there’s at least one a week.
The hikers — tourists and locals alike — are at best clueless and at worst boorish. They go up to houses and demand to come in and use the bathroom, saying, “But we need to go! What else are we supposed to do?”
They knock their mud-caked shoes on people’s retaining walls and gates and fences and leave behind their filthy footprints for someone else to scrub off.
They block driveways, pee in yards, knock on doors to ask for directions or to borrow flashlights. They rumble in with motorcycle convoys or tour buses and party at the falls at all hours, yelling, swearing, blasting music. They leave behind mounds of trash and tie their ruined hiking boots together and leave them hanging on the utility lines.
And that’s just the everyday stuff. When somebody gets hurt, there are fire trucks and ambulances, sirens and fear.
The trail goes through land owned by HRT Realty, a subsidiary of Weinberg Trust. When the Luana Hills golf course was developed by a Japanese company in the 1990s, the city made establishing the trail a condition of approval.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources added the trail to its Na Ala Hele trail program in 1995. In 2013, the DLNR commissioned a study on the impacts to the neighborhood, but in 2014, walked away, saying that Maunawili Falls Trail was the city’s kuleana.
Last month, the Maunawili Estates Community Association filed a motion in court to compel mediation that would force all parties to come to the table. The Kailua Neighborhood Board has already voted to tell the city to close the trail. Nakamatsu says the root of the problem isn’t the hikers, it’s the proximity of such a popular attraction to a quiet little neighborhood. That there is no bathroom, public parking or government oversight makes the bad situation even worse.
“We need to take care of our tourists,” Nakamatsu says. “We tell them ‘E komo mai’ and then we lead them into danger.”
A few weeks ago, a California mother and her baby were swept away by rising waters on the trail. The pair was rescued, but they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Nakamatsu feels the mother was not at fault.
“Don’t blame her. Where does it say not to hike because of flash floods? She’s a tourist. There’s no sign. The trail has been advertised for years as family-friendly.”
Another car drives up. A young couple gets out. The petite woman is obviously pregnant. She’s wearing thin sandals made for the poolside, not hiking.
“The falls are a little over a mile. It’s very slippery. Very muddy. Be careful,” Nakamatsu tells her. The woman nods, reconsidering the hike.
As Nakamatsu walks back toward her house, more cars keep coming.
Reach Lee Cataluna at 529-4315 or

Monday, September 21, 2015


September 21, 2015

Macy’s Kailua exit could mean big bucks for family

The Mahoes hope to sell their piece of the parking lot for $6.2M
By Andrew Gomes

The recent decision by Macy’s to close its store in Kailua after the upcoming holiday season will be a loss for many shoppers. But for one local family the departure could produce a multimillion-dollar windfall.
The family of the late Howell Kaliula Mahoe Sr. owns an odd piece of the Macy’s property and has decided to put it up for sale.
For more than 60 years, the Mahoe family has been a landlord to the department store that opened in 1946 as Liberty House and was converted to Macy’s in 2006. The family owns a midsection of the store’s parking lot, an area that contains about 90 of the 180 stalls serving shoppers.
After Macy’s decided not to renew its lease, Mahoe family members decided to put the 32,000-square-foot parcel on the market. It’s listed by brokerage firm Newmark Grubb CBI Inc. for $6.2 million.
Walton Mahoe said his father received the property in the 1940s or 1950s in a trade with Harold Kainalu Long Castle, the man who transformed Kailua from an agrarian outpost to a thriving residential community. Mahoe said his father owned land in Maunawili that Castle wanted, and agreed to accept what became a piece of Kailua’s commercial real estate core.
“Whatever (development deals Castle) made, we were part of it, too,” Mahoe said.
Mahoe’s father lived on Oneawa Street. He died in February at 82.
Macy’s could have extended its lease on the Mahoe family property until 2027. Not extending presented a good opportunity to sell the land, especially given that many parts of the town are undergoing redevelopment that includes a Target store that opened in March and the Ka Malanai condominiums nearing completion.
“We’d rather not sell, but the winds of change are there,” said Mahoe, who is a trustee of the property along with his brother, kumu hula Howell K. “Chinky” Mahoe Jr.
Alexander & Baldwin Inc., a Hawaii real estate and development firm that bought 70 percent of the commercial-zoned land and 90 percent of the retail property in Kailua from a company and foundation created by Castle, owns most of the Macy’s site, including the 59,000-square-foot store and two sides of the rear parking lot.
A&B has said it is considering options to make the best use of the Macy’s site with a goal of retaining the building’s character.
A&B is considered to be an obvious potential buyer of the Mahoe property, given that it owns all the land on every side of the Mahoe parcel. The Mahoe parcel has easements on adjacent A&B land for access.
The parking lot behind the Macy’s building is convenient but not necessary for any future tenants, in part because there is a three-story, 238-stall parking garage next door that was built in 2004.
Vanessa Kop, a broker with Newmark Grubb CBI, said retail and restaurant development are among considered uses for the Mahoe parcel, which is zoned for community business use and has a 40-foot height limit.
Kop said interest has been high from prospective buyers. “We do have some pretty good offers,” she said.


September 21, 2015

Family lists lot behind Kailua Macy’s store for $6M

A Kailua family that owns a 32,000 square-foot parcel behind the Macy’s department store that is closing next year has put the land — a parking lot surrounded by land owned by Alexander & Baldwin Inc. — on the market for $6.2 million.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the Mahoe family, whose trustees areWalton Mahoe and his brother, Howell K. “Chinky” Mahoe Jr., decided to sell the odd lot — which was given to their father, Howell K. Mahoe, by Harold K.L. Castle in the 1940s or 1950s as part of a trade — after Macy’sdecided to close its Kailua store early next year
The land was not included in A&B’s $373 million purchase in 2013 of the Kailua commercial portfolio and other lands from Kaneohe Ranch and theHarold K.L. Castle Foundation.
The listing with Newmark Grubb CBI Inc. notes that the commercial lot is zoned for retail and is strategically located between the new Whole Foods Market and Target stores.

Monday, September 14, 2015


September 14, 2015

‘Unsightly’ structure in Kailua protects important water pressure valve

By Howard Dashefsky

Here on Oahu, Kailua is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spots in the state. But there is, however, a not so sightly structure going up right alongside a busy roadway that has many people wondering what it is?
Driving up Kailua Road, it’s almost impossible not to notice at the bottom of a beautiful and towering banyan tree.
“I drive by it just about every day,” said resident Jason Cuttida. “I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s been going on for a little while, and it’s kind of an eyesore. It’s not very attractive and it’s very conspicuously located here, so that’s a concern to us.”
Like many Kailua residents, Diane Hardy of the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle was left to wonder what the structure is. While not very big, it’s definitely an eye catcher — for all the wrong reasons.
But she said “we understand the reasons that this has to be here.”
So what is it? The Board of Water Supply said it’s a project to replace an aging pressure valve that controls a significant amount of water flow into Kailua. The old valve was underground, but the new valve will be above ground.
BWS spokesman Shawn Nakamoto said that “if it’s underground, and we do need to make an adjustment because there’s abnormally high pressure or there’s a main break could be that much harder to get to, this was an opportunity to move it above ground for both safety and maintenance.”
While having the valve above ground makes it’s easy for crews to work on, it also makes it an easier target for vandals, which is why this structure is being built around it.
But is there a reason it has to be right there? “The two mains that were in that area have been realigned, so that particular location is where the two mains meet,” replied Nakamoto.
“I think they looked at other areas, but they want to preserve the tree, and that was really the best opportunity and the best placement for the unit that houses the valve.”
“We are concerned about the look of it and wanting to make it maybe blend in a little better,” said Hardy, “and not be so conspicuous.”
Although it’s an eyesore now, Nakamoto promises once it’s finished, the Board of Water Supply will paint the building green, replace the grass, and then landscape around it.
She also said she’s happy to work directly with the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle, which has a strong connection to this specific banyan tree, which is over 70 years old.
Nakamoto said the project is taking longer than expected because of the recent heavy rains and because it required a lot of coordination with both the city and the state.

Monday, August 31, 2015


August 31, 2015

New 42-unit Kailua apartment building in the works

The project, on land fronting Kawainui Marsh in Kailua, is projected to break ground in June

By Andrew Gomes

A developer plans to build 42 rental apartments on vacant land fronting Kawainui Marsh in a Kailua neighborhood that includes a mix of single-family homes and small apartment buildings.
The estimated $8 million project is proposed for a 24,593-square-foot parcel at the end of Kihapai Place and is projected to break ground in June if approvals including a special management area use permit are obtained.
Details of the plan were presented in a draft environmental assessment published Aug. 24 by the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.
Kihapai Hui LLC, a company led by developers Tyler Greene and Chad Waters, is buying the parcel from its longtime owner and produced the draft environmental assessment.
The development firm, which also involves Jonah Kogen of Hillside Realty and Development, has a deal to buy the property from a company managed by Gail Patrick Pao Berengue and Sylvia Ann Pao Kruse.
According to the environmental assessment, the property was once partly occupied by a two-story building with nine rental apartments built in 1959 and demolished in 2005.
Kihapai Hui's plan is to build a four-story building named Kihapai Place Apartments with 42 one-bedroom rentals above a surface parking lot with 58 stalls. The company said construction would involve building a retaining wall that redirects runoff away from the marsh toward the street.
The site, along with other parcels on Kihapai Place, is zoned for medium-density apartment use and would fit in with neighboring properties that include single-family homes, duplexes and nine apartment buildings, according to the draft environmental assessment.
The height limit for the property is 40 feet. The proposed building would rise 40 feet and be topped by a 3-1/2-foot parapet ringing a rooftop occupied by photovoltaic panels and a recreation area. The developer said the added height from the wall along the roof's edge is an allowed safety feature under the city zoning code.
If construction begins in June, project completion is expected 12 months later.
Greene and Waters could not be reached for comment. Kogen was reached but deferred comment to his partners.
Greene and Waters, whose companies include The Green Waters Group and Bridge Real Estate Hawaii, are involved in projects that include an ongoing effort to redevelop the Coco Palms Resort on Kauai, building a 24-home subdivision called Ka'ala Highlands on the edge of Wahiawa town, building a cluster of 20 homes called Waikalua Bayside in Kaneohe and building an agricultural subdivision with 23 homes called Olomana Heights in Kailua.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


August 15, 2015

Kailua Macy’s building may convert to shopping-dining complex, Alexander & Baldwin exec says

By Duane Shimogawa

A combination of restaurant and shopping options could be replacing theMacy's store in Kailua in Windward Oahu after it closes down in early 2016, the head of Alexander & Baldwin Inc.'s subsidiary's Kailua operations confirmed to PBN.

Jon Moyer, director of asset management in Kailua for A&B Properties Inc., which owns the ground lease of the building that Macy's occupies, told PBN on Friday that Alexander & Baldwin (NYSE: ALEX) is considering this mixed option for the site.

"We are saddened by the loss of Macy's," he told PBN in an email.

On Thursday, PBN broke the news that Macy's Kailua location, which was built in 1946 as a Liberty House store, was closing down early next year.

The Cincinnati-based retailer decided not not renew its ground lease, which ends on Dec. 31, 2015.

The 61,577-square-foot building on Kailua Road leaves lots of opportunities for other retailers and restaurants once it opens up after Macy's moves out.

Moyer did not specify any brands it would like to move into the highly-visible space in the increasingly popular Windward Oahu beach town, which gained a new Target store in March.

A&B Properties acquired the leasehold interest in the property in 2013 as part of a larger $375 million purchase involving most of the commercial town core of Kailua.

Macy's (NYSE: M) has about a dozen stores in Hawaii, and is opening its first West Oahu location at DeBartolo Development's planned Ka Makana Alii mixed-use project in East Kapolei.

Friday, August 14, 2015


August 14, 2015

Macy’s Kailua closure leaves prime real estate opening for possible replacement tenants

By Duane Shimogawa

News of the closure of Macy’s in Kailua, first reported by PBN, opens the floodgates of speculation as to who will replace the Cincinnati-based retailer. We spoke with a number of experts on the area for their thoughts.

Matthew Bittick, president of Honolulu-based Bishop Street Commercial LLC, who lives in Kailua, told PBN Friday that the 61,577-square-foot building along Kailua Road sticks out like a sore thumb.

“Any improvement will be a good thing for Kailua’s image,” he told PBN in an email. “Macy’s has been a great tenant for the area for many years, however, it needs to be redeveloped.”

Bittick, who handles retail real estate deals, said that a big box would not win over the locals in Kailua.

“Demolish the existing building and multi-tenant the area with shops and restaurants, and perhaps, some outdoor seating for the residents and visitors to congregate,” he said.

After Macy’s ground lease ends on Dec. 31, 2015, the landowner, Alexander & Baldwin Inc. (NYSE: ALEX) subsidiary A&B Properties Inc., is expected to take ownership of the building.

Macy’s (NYSE: M), through a spokeswoman, had previously told PBN that the store will remain open through early 2016. It's likely the store will continue on a month-to-month ground lease through early 2016.

Cynthia Manley, president of the Kailua Chamber of Commerce and a Kailua resident, told PBN Friday that in place of Macy’s, she would like to see a family-friendly environment that will add to the shopping experience for the area’s residents and visitors.

“Whenever a retailer offers an opportunity to local residents it’s a win-win for everyone,” she told PBN in an email. “Global Village, [a current women’s retailer in Kailua] frequently showcases resident items. Years ago, when my daughters started a clothing line, Global Village was the first to give them space in the store and even held a mom-and-daughter fashion event in the parking lot. Businesses in Kailua are growing and changing as the need arises.”

Jon Moyer, director of asset management in Kailua for A&B Properties, told PBN Friday that at this point, A&B is thinking about a combination of restaurant and shopping options for the site.

The building that Macy’s occupies at 573 Kailua Road was built in 1946 as a Liberty House store. A&B Properties acquired the leasehold interest in the property in 2013 as part of a bigger $375 million purchase of most of the commercial town core of Kailua and other Hawaii properties from Kaneohe Ranch and Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

Macy’s has about a dozen stores in Hawaii and most recently closed its Downtown Honolulu location, which was replaced by a Walmart store.

In a reader survey on PBN’s website, posted Friday morning, a majority of voters says another retailer should be inserted in Macy’s place. Readers top choices for brands they'd like to see were Crate & Barrel, Ikea and T.J. Maxx.


August 14, 2015

Macy’s to close Kailua outlet

Residents lament the retailer’s loss as a final clearance sale is set for early spring
By Kristen Consillio

Another longtime retail institution is closing its doors in the burgeoning Kailua community.
Officials at Macy’s department store notified roughly 70 employees that they will shutter the 59,000-square-foot location at 573 Kailua Road next year after the busy holiday season.
“It’s going to be a real problem. I mean, there’s not another store that compares to this store in Kailua,” said Shelia Smith, 53, who was shopping at Macy’s on Thursday afternoon. “I just think it’s going to be very difficult for people. It’s an unfortunate thing for the community, I know, especially for the elderly. A lot of those people can’t get out and go anywhere, so this is really convenient for them.”
Macy’s Kailua first opened as Liberty House in 1946 and converted to the Macy’s brand in 2006.
The retailer has a final clearance sale planned for early spring, spokeswoman Martha Gil De Montes told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an email, but she didn’t give an exact date of closure.
“As the location closes in 2016, we will work to place as many associates as possible in nearby Macy’s stores,” she said. “We are delighted to have been part of the Kailua community over the decades and look forward to continuing to serve our local customers.”
A new Macy’s store is scheduled to open in 2016 in Ka Makana Ali‘i, a regional mall being built in Kapolei. In 2013 the retailer shut its 80,000-square-foot 1032 Fort Street Mall store as part of what the company called “normal-course adjustments to its portfolio.”
Kailua resident Kris Lambert, 67, worked at the store in her 20s when it was Liberty House, and said Macy’s is still the “go-to place for most people” shopping for clothes.
“It is an institution,” she said. “It definitely contributes to the local economy.”
Macy’s “informally indicated” it would not be renewing its ground lease that expires at the end of the year, according to landowner Alexander & Baldwin.
“Obviously, we’re sad to see them go, and we’re actually really disappointed that they chose not to renew,” said Jon Moyer, A&B Properties director of asset management for Kailua. “We will now evaluate our options to make the best use of the space with the goal of retaining the character of the building. It’s important to us that we preserve Kailua’s charm while providing the community a place to gather, and new restaurant and shopping options.”
Aikahi resident Jocelyn Pratt, 59, said she regularly shops at Macy’s and is sad to see it go.
“The thing that’s really interesting with Macy’s, too, of course, is each community has their own blend of merchandise,” she said. “There are things that I kind of think I can find a little bit more simply because it’s Kailua. I come here to look for very specific things. I really try to shop Kailua. I am disappointed (not) just for myself, but I am for the community, too.”
Cincinnati-based Macy’s Inc. acquired in 2001 the former Liberty House department store chain, one of Kailua’s first retailers. A&B bought the land under the Macy’s store in 2013 as part of a $373 million sale from Kaneohe Ranch Co. and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation that included 70 percent of the commercial-zoned land in Kailua and other property on Oahu.
Some Kailua residents have been lamenting the changing face of the small-town community over the past few years. In 2011 Don Quijote’s Kailua branch closed its doors, making way for a new Target store.
“I think they have a vision that we’re not privy to,” Lambert said. “I’ll bet you it has to do with the lease rents because that’s what happened to a lot of the local merchants that are at other places around this area. I’m real unhappy with the direction that Kailua is changing into. It’s becoming more tourist-oriented and less oriented towards us local people. I don’t think that it looks like anybody cares about those people who live here.”
Macy’s has 15 stores in Hawaii: eight on Oahu, three on Hawaii island, three on Maui and one on Kauai.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


August 13, 2015

Macy's closing its department store in Kailua in Windward Oahu

By Duane Shimogawa

Macy’s is closing its department store in Downtown Kailua in Windward Oahu, one of the largest ground lease tenants acquired by Alexander & Baldwin nearly two years ago, multiple sources confirmed to PBN Thursday.
The retail giant elected not to renew the ground lease, and will the close the 61,577-square-foot store in early 2016, a store manager told PBN. The building at 573 Kailua Road, which is owned by Macy’s, was built in 1954 as a Liberty House store, according to property tax records.
The store sits on nearly an acre of land, which is ground-leased from Honolulu-based Alexander & Baldwin Inc. (NYSE: ALEX) subsidiary A&B Properties Inc.
A&B purchased the leasehold interest for about $33.8 million in 2013 as part of a bigger $375 million purchase of the commercial town core of Kailua and other Hawaii properties from Kaneohe Ranch and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.
Macy’s store employees in Kailua were informed of the store’s impending closure Thursday morning.
Cincinnati-based Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) has about a dozen stores in Hawaii and most recently closed its Downtown Honolulu location, which was replaced by a Walmart store.
PBN has reached out to Jon Moyer, director of asset management in Kailua for A&B Properties and Macy’s for comment.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


August 5, 2015

Central Pacific to relocate Kailua branch

By Star-Advertiser staff

Central Pacific Bank, which for more than a year has been seeking to find a new site for its Kailua branch, has decided to proceed with plans to move to the former location of Arby’s restaurant at 6 Hoolai St.
The state’s fourth-largest bank, which has 36 branches statewide, plans to demolish the existing two-story building that previously housed the restaurant. The site would offer better parking and accessibility than its current Kailua branch at 419 Kuulei Road.