China Builds its Hawai‘i Portfolio

Jun 17, 2016

Credit Pixabay Commons

Recent Chinese investments in Hawaii real estate total nearly one billion dollars. Pacific Business News Editor in Chief A. Kam Napier has more on what they buying and what it means.

Resort properties dominate the new holdings by Chinese investors.  For example, China Oceanside Holdings acquired two lots last year at Ko Olina for $200 million, where it plans to develop a two-tower hotel and condo project.  This same group acquired a 516-acre area of Kapolei West for an undisclosed sum.  That area was already slated to be a master-planned golf community that would bridge the city of Kapolei and Ko Olina.

A Hong Kong based group acquired properties near Ala Moana Center last year for $21 million and this year picked up the Tissue Genesis building in downtown Honolulu for $12 million.

One of the biggest purchases was that of 1,103 acres of Princeville in Hanalei for $343 million by the China based Reignwood International, two years ago.

Real estate experts PBN spoke to are comparing it to the wave of Japanese investment Hawai‘i experienced in the late 1980’s – not in terms of scale but in terms of property type, starting with hotels and golf course projects.  Byron Burley is Vice President of Development and Strategic sales for juawai.com, and international real estate website for Chinese buyers.  He tells PBN Chinese investors look for property on or near the waterfront, or near hubs such as airports, universities or a financial district.  The typical pattern is to buy the land then work with local developers as Co-investors of whatever is built there.