Last Of Japanese Billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto's Kahala Properties Sold

Feb 21, 2020

It's the end of a real estate era in Kahala, as Alexander & Baldwin sells the last three Kawamoto homes.

The name Genshiro Kawamoto has been famous in Hawaii since the late 1980s, when the Japanese billionaire was emblematic of a wave of Japanese investment in the islands. He bought 30 homes in Kahala, which then did nothing but sit unoccupied and disintegrating, except for a brief time when he offered them for rent to Native Hawaiian families before scrapping that plan.

All this changed in 2013, when Hawaii real estate broker Steve Sombrero negotiated with Kawamoto to sell the houses as a set to Alexander & Baldwin for $128 million. A&B rehabilitated and sold most of the properties, then hired Hawaii Life in 2017 to handle the sales of the final seven properties.

The Kawamoto chapter ultimately ended this week, as A&B sold the last three of the 30 properties. These include an 8,438-square-foot lot on Kahala Avenue, which closed for $1.3 million to a local buyer in December, and two nearby flag lots, which sold for $9.3 million to a Mainland buyer.

In an interesting wrinkle, some of these lots were competing for sales against new homes built on lots that had also been part of Kawamoto's original 30.