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Asia Minute: Hyatt Regency Waik?k? Latest Asian Investment Venture in Hawai‘i

faerie-angel Via CC Commons
faerie-angel Via CC Commons

In the 1980’s, Japanese investment poured into Hawai‘i—from residential real estate to hotels. Hawai‘i is still a popular destination for Japanese investors…. but they’re increasingly being joined by those from South Korea. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia minute.

South Korea’s central bank cut interest rates to a record low Thursday…one and a quarter percent.  Those low interest rates at home are one factor driving investment money abroad—including here in Hawai‘i.

Several media outlets reported this week that Mirae Asset Global Investments is buying the Hyatt Regency Waik?k? Beach Resort and Spa for nearly $800 million dollars.  Bloomberg quotes the research firm Real Capital Analytics as saying that would be Hawai‘i’s biggest single-property hotel transaction ever.

Last year, Mirae paid $220 million dollars for the Fairmont Orchid hotel on Hawai‘i Island.  As for the Hyatt Regency Waik?k?, its tangled ownership history has previously wandered through Asia.  Mirae is buying the hotel from the Blackstone Group…..turning a profit over three years that Bloomberg puts at more than $200 million dollars.

Based in New York, Blackstone is one of the world’s largest investment firms…with $344 billion dollars in assets under management—that’s larger than the economy of Singapore, among other countries.  Blackstone bought the hotel three years ago from Goldman Sachs…which acquired it in 2008 from Azabu Buildings.  That’s a Japanese firm that went bankrupt due to what it called “troubled real estate transactions in Japan related to the ‘bubble economy’ of the early 1990’s.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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