Nature Lover’s Dream! Ocean View Retreat! March 11, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Featured Listings, Updates , add a comment
This 4.2 acre ocean view retreat features a hilltop architect designed home surrounded by one of East Hawaii’s most impressive palm collections. Lush tropical landscape in the sunny region of Opihikao, on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The 2 bedroom, 2 bath home has split living areas with multiple ocean viewing decks, providing each space privacy and beautiful vistas.
Vaulted ceilings and dual level windows allow plenty of natural lighting and great views of the ocean and landscaping below. The spacious decks extend across the home, providing indoor and outdoor living options.
The open concept split level design is flooded with natural light. The kitchen, with ceramic tile counters, wood cabinets and recessed lighting open onto the living area. The home also features convenient loft level storage and a recessed tub bath.
A variety of prized palm species are studded throughout the property, along with tropical fruit and native Ohia trees. The forested hillsides provide both beautiful scenery and blissful seclusion. This is a nature lover’s dream.
Enjoy tropical living amidst the sounds of native birds. Relax under the palms in a hammock, or enjoy a cool drink from the ocean view deck. The choices are yours.
Large acreage and agricultural zoning allow for multiple potential uses.
Live on your own secluded agricultural estate, develop an income from propagating exotic palms, or take advantage of the fantastic growing conditions provided by the area’s sunny micro climate.
For full images and virtual tour, go to: http://271156.kellymoran.com
Oceanfront Bluff Property! Jaw Dropping Views! March 10, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Featured Listings, Updates , add a comment
Rare three acre oceanfront bluff property. Jaw dropping ocean vistas offer timeless value in a pristine environment. Build a premier estate and enjoy the Pacific panoramas along this prized East Hawaii coastline.
Located just 30 minutes from downtown Hilo, this parcel enjoys the warm and sunny micro climate of the Puna District, a region once prized by Hawaiian royalty.
Situated on a bluff, the property is high enough on the cliff above the ocean to be protected from surf and high tides, yet low enough to allow access to the rocky coastline. Listen to the song of the whales as they make their annual migration, and witness the awesome spectacle of these majestic creatures breaching near the coastline.
The property is located in an artistic community, with neighboring quality homes. Owners are lured by the peace and quiet offered by the low traffic access road, allowing them to take in the sounds of the ocean at hide-away retreats. Buy now in this exclusive area and build your dream private estate!
This property has Conservation zoning: You will need a Conservation District Use permit to build a single family home on this parcel.
Directions: From Hilo head south towards Pahoa. Turn left off Highway 130 on Makuu Drive. Go down towards ocean and turn right on Beach Road. Located on left approximately 1.3 miles from Makuu Drive, just before the parcel with iron gate.
For full images and virtual tour, go to: http://270085.kellymoran.comHERE ON THE BIG ISLAND , add a comment
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
ETHANOL-FREE GAS IS BEST FOR SMALL ENGINES
Ethanol is ethyl alcohol – the kind you can drink. Diluting gasoline with this home-grown fuel, distilled mainly from corn, reduces America’s demand for imported oil. The mixture has helped to moderate the rises in crude-oil prices, but it is widely criticized, from left and right both, as a subsidy to big agribusinesses, and as a diversion of corn that ought to be food for people and livestock.
Gasoline with ten-percent alcohol is called E10; with 15% it’s E15. Burning alcohol yields less energy than burning gasoline: it takes 1.5 gallons of alcohol to equal the propulsive power of one gallon of gas. In today’s automobiles – those built after 2000, anyway – that doesn’t matter. Hundreds of times a second, the computer in the engine senses the percentage, and makes the optimum mix of fuel, air, and ignition timing, no matter what the fuel. But small gas engines, like those of lawn-tractors, and particularly the even smaller gas engines of lawnmowers, chain-saws and weed-eaters, don’t have computers. They have old-fashioned carburetors, which can’t make adjustments for the difference between gas and alcohol. So they simply don’t perform as well burning E10 or E15 as they do burning pure gasoline.
With ethanol in the gas, though, there’s an even bigger problem for small engines than mechanical inefficiency. If you have any landscaping to do at home, here, you probably have some small-engine tools. But you probably don’t mow your lawn or whack your weeds as often as you drive your car. So in a typical small engine, the fuel can hang around in its tank for a while, unused. After a few weeks or a month, the alcohol separates from the gasoline; it starts dissolving things made of fiberglass (like the tank itself!), and corroding a few metal components. And when those residues get into the fuel line and carburetor, they gum up the works. Small-engine repairmen get business from this, but they are not necessarily happy about it. They tend to have great respect for these well-engineered, highly efficient and reliable machines, and they hate to see them fail for fully preventable reasons.
The best “ounce of prevention” is ethanol-free gas. Some automotive-supply stores sell it in small cans, by the pint or the quart. But it’s cheaper to buy it and pump it yourself, by the gallon, and you can do that easily at a couple of gas-stations here on the Big Island. For a long time, the only outlet was the Aloha station in Mountain View, on Hwy 11 between the 14- and 15-mileposts. Recently, though, Hilo’s Bayfront Chevron, on Kamehameha Ave. at Pauahi St., has begun selling it too.
Ethanol-free gas does cost a bit more than Regular E10 (about the same as Premium E10). But a gas engine without alcohol is a cleaner-running gas engine. Use it in your mower, chainsaw and weed-whacker, and you can take comfort in knowing that those tools will be giving you a big “Mahalo,” and working a lot longer for you.
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND: “What About All My Books?” March 5, 2014Posted by Kelly in : HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND , add a comment
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
“What About All My Books?”
This column isn’t for everyone. People who move to the Big Island typically bring some household goods: important pieces of furniture, family heirlooms, photographs, artwork and other decorations that have aesthetic or personal significance. Most also bring some favorite books as well, for which a couple of shelves will suffice in their new home. But some people bring a great many books here. And if you’re one of them, it’s to you that this particular column is directed.
How (you may well ask) do I transplant a personal library? It’s not just a matter of shelving – about which, more later. It’s a matter of climate. Hawaii, and the east side of the Big Island especially, is warm and humid all year long. Mold and mildew have a particular affinity for book-paper here, and as if that weren’t bad enough, the paper in most books, especially older books, is vulnerable to decay, having been manufactured in a process that leaves it slightly acidic. If it gets damp, the moisture releases the acid, which then starts to eat away the pages. (This, incidentally, is why professional framers mount photos and artworks on “acid-free” paper.) The same fate awaits other paper collectibles that may be brought here from drier climates, like vintage magazines or sheet music. Tightly compressed, moist paper is also the favorite breeding-ground of mold and mildew, as well as bookworms and “silverfish” roaches.
Obviously, the best way to maintain a library’s worth of books is to keep them very dry. You could set aside a room for them, an extra bedroom, perhaps; seal it fairly well against the damp, and install an air conditioner or dehumidifier that vents to the outside. This is relatively easy to do, though it’s not as practical as it seems. If you keep the room closed off, you may not use your books as often as you would if they were always visible. (Admit it: If you have that many books, you probably love looking at them as much as reading them!) And you’ll be forever hectoring your family to “Close that door!” Besides, air conditioners and dehumidifiers draw a lot of electric power, and at more than $0.30 per kilowatt-hour, Hawaii has the highest electric rates in America.
So, alternatively, you can shelve your books in the open, take each one down once in a while, and riffle the pages to air them out. Do this, and you will still have to resign yourself to replacing the books you especially love, as the oldest editions inevitably disintegrate.
But wait – you can have it both ways: a library open 24/7 that nonetheless preserves your collection. The secret is to ventilate it. Even in microclimates where humidity is highest, at sea-level, a breeze may wick away excess moisture before it can cling to a page. Let me tell you about two homeowners who have protected their large book-collections that way.
One family owns a trio of plantation-vintage houses that they rent by the room to graduate students and visiting researchers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. They have long had more books than their family home (one of the three) could hold; so a few years ago, they decided to create a library on the ground floor of one of the rental houses. By coincidence, just as they were planning that renovation, the local Borders bookstore closed, and they wound up buying the display-shelves.
Like many of Hilo’s houses, theirs is built atop a concrete slab, supported by posts-and-piers on the ground floor within a low perimeter knee-wall. They clad the exterior walls with cementacious Hardie panels, installed screened windows on three sides, laid colorful vinyl tiles on the slab, and installed lights and power outlets all around. The slab stays cool, and the house above shades the new library. Most days there’s cross-ventilation, a gentle breeze that helps to keep the books from molding, and also cools whoever’s using the library, which has become a bonus study-space for their tenants, too.
On a ridge above Hilo, there’s a husband and wife to whom I sold a three-bedroom house that needed upgrades. They were moving here from San Francisco, with 36 boxes of books. And as they both worked from home, they needed space for an office as well as a library. Using their extra bedrooms was not an option: one had to give up a wall to make their living room bigger, and the other had to remain as their guest-room.
What they did was to take over the old carport, which was more than two-cars wide, and already had a door into the house. They built a wall and a big window on the side that had been open to the road, added a door into a new shed-roof carport around the corner, and installed a new hardwood floor of red eucalyptus robusta. For the wooden shelving, which now fills three sides, they designed a simple, modular system using inexpensive Douglas fir, that their contractor sized to fit.
They also purchased a dehumidifier, but to their surprise, they have almost never run it. The house is at a breezy 2,000-foot elevation, and the constant air circulation has been enough, by itself, to inhibit mold and mildew and discourage insects. There is a small trade-off: during the winter months, that office/library is the chilliest room in the house. But cool air holds less moisture than warm air, and that too helps keep the books safe in what would otherwise be the wettest time of year.
So, bibliophiles take note: you don’t have to give up your books to live in Hawaii.HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND , add a comment
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
– A CONVERSATION WITH KRISHNA DHIR, DEAN OF UH-HILO’S COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS.
Krishna Dhir is an agent for change at UH-Hilo’s College of Business and Economics (COBE). In 2013, he was named its dean, and, as he sees it, “The college is a reservoir of intellectual capital that businesses will want to access. During the past few years, it was focused on acquiring international accreditation – which was, of course, vital to its standing and to attracting students. But now that we have accreditation, it’s time for us to focus on implementing the mission articulated by the college’s faculty members, and make progress toward achieving the goals defined by them.”
Dhir came to Hilo after running the business school at Berry College, in Rome, GA. But he is not your typical academic administrator. He does hold an MBA, which he earned in the late 1960s at UH-Manoa in Honolulu. But his initial preparation is in chemical engineering and PhD (from the University of Colorado at Boulder) is in operations research; and he worked for several years at a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland. “It’s not uncommon for engineers to be involved in business schools,” he explained. “Engineers are typically obsessed with optimization, and there’s a whole aspect of the business school curriculum that focuses on that. In many areas of manufacturing, industrial engineers overlap with production managers: there is a commonality. The best engineers also have to be focused on finances, so there’s a good bit of overlap when it comes to operations research, management science, and methodologies.”
UH-Hilo’s COBE, he noted, is “an under-valued school. People here may not realize what an asset they have. It’s accredited internationally, which means that its alumni are considered fully qualified to go to graduate schools around the world.” And since COBE is fully accredited now, Dhir feels he can focus on bringing its certifiably high quality of education into the local business community.
“On the Big Island,” he said, “about half of the high school students go to college; and statewide, the percentage is only a little better. And when high school graduates go into the workforce, they soon discover they’re inadequately trained for mid-level management responsibilities. To take just one example: In hotel guest relations, resort operators here find their local entry-level employees don’t have the skills to move up the ladder. So they recruit talent from off-island, especially from the Mainland: and those people don’t usually stay here to run the operations – if they move up the ladder, it’s within the company’s faraway headquarters.”
The educational model that Dhir says he is “trying to sell,” is non-traditional. “Go to medical school, and you get an education with both an academic part and a clinical part. Business schools should have an equivalent curriculum: they shouldn’t just hand over degrees to people who have never run a business! We need to augment our faculty with practitioners, to draw people from the business community who will affiliate with the college: bank CEOs perhaps, or plant managers, people who are experts in their own areas – including retirees, looking for a way to ‘give back’ to this wonderful place in which they live. We can help enable them to develop curricula, along with our faculty, that draws on their expertise. Not everything in the COBE has to be about academic credit.
“It’s true that ‘learning’ has been traditionally measured in ‘credits.’ So the problem,” he admitted, “starts with the college. And business-school faculties have been focused mainly on academics, within the school, and mainly on courses taken for credit. The age of the college student is going up; education is becoming a commodity. Workers are staying at work longer, and living longer. So they may need to go back to the university for more education – but only for short periods of time, not for days or for semesters. And with cooperation between faculty and industry, the college can develop non-credit courses to augment their credit-based programs.”
“Business people,” he said, “are more interested in capacity – in the ability of someone to do something. This is not an earthshaking idea. I want local industry to benefit from this approach. We’ve done our homework; we’ve come up with these new ideas. I want to put our students into cooperative education. On the industry side, internships are only one part of that cooperation. When a company really cooperates with educators, the students gain skills. In cooperative education, students can work in the summer months, earning a decent paycheck which they can apply to tuition, while gaining and using skills they’ll be able to use long after. This requires everyone to consider fresh ideas, and frankly, the practical applications may require adjustments where the process touches on laws regarding, say, work-hours or benefits. ”
Who would he bring in to this process from the business community? The tourism industry, to start. “There aren’t too many large companies here in East Hawaii ,” he said, “but in West Hawaii there are excellent prospects, since tourism there is so much bigger than in East Hawaii. The challenge will be to show those industries how the COBE can work with their workers, in the context of their corporate needs. Interns from big name mainland universities who are subsidized by our industries won’t be staying on in Hawaii. The hotels need local students, from here. And they are people who will stay on afterward, and become full-time employees.”
Great Opportunity! Well Branded Coffee Business! February 27, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Featured Listings, Updates , add a comment
Fantastic opportunity to purchase a well branded farm to cup coffee business perched strategically along East Hawaii’s busiest tourism corridor.
With excellent retail frontage along Highway 11, this business is in a prime position to take advantage of the up to 1.6 million visitors who use the roadway each year to access the nearby Volcanoes National Park.
Situated on 23.86 acres of rolling hills with Mauna Kea mountain views, this turnkey business offers a unique combination of great income potential and gorgeous natural surroundings.
Over 6,000 actively producing coffee trees supply a well established retail and wholesale business with more than 2,500 square feet of production and showroom space.
The facility comes equipped with a fully certified kitchen and espresso bar, coffee roasters, packaging equipment, as well as office equipment and software.
Agricultural operations are supported by a large warehouse with forklift, a drying shed and high quality farm equipment including mowers, tractors, and a double pulper.
The property has been beautifully landscaped with native plants including Ohia trees. Also in cultivation are white pineapple, tea plants, and cocoa.
A large greenhouse provides protected growing conditions for some of the vegetables currently being used in the kitchen, and a large flock of chickens provide high quality eggs and ample natural fertilizer.
This environmentally friendly operation comes equipped with a large solar array providing substantial cost savings on utility bills. The overhang for the solar facility currently provides cover for a weekly farmer’s market.
A 9 hole regulation Disc Golf course has been installed on the grounds, and the majority of the acreage has been cleared and fenced.
A special permit is in place for the portion of the property being used for retail activities. Check with county agencies for details.
Please do not disturb employees.
For info and pics sent instantly to your mobile device: Text “270692″ to 79564.
For full images and virtual tour, go to: www.buyhilocoffeemill.com
Operational 10 Acre Tropical Fruit Farm February 26, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Featured Listings, Updates , add a comment
Operational 10 acre tropical fruit farm located in Panaewa close to Hilo. Orchard includes Lychee, Longan, Lansone, Betal Nut, Avocado, Carambola (Starfruit), Banana, Jaboticaba, Jackfruit, Guava, Citrus, Atemoya and Coconuts!
The Panaewa area is on the outskirts of Hilo. It is a sunny flat location that is ideal for agricultural endeavors. The University of Hawaii at Hilo has their School of Tropical Agriculture Farm Laboratory located here.
The location provides easy highway access to tropical fruit wholesalers and air freight services.
Approximately 25 years left on DLNR lease and the lease rent is currently $2,715 per year. To assume existing DLNR lease, talk to Gordon Heit at DLNR. To assume State of Hawaii lease, you need to be a three year Hawaii resident and have at least 2 years of agriculture experience or a BS in Agriculture. Production records available to qualfied buyers.
For full images and virtual tour, go to http://267479.kellymoran.com
Hilo Paradise! 564 Spectacular Acres February 21, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Featured Listings, Updates , add a comment
Hilo Paradise! 564 spectacular acres with streams and huge waterfalls, just 6 miles north of Hilo. Fantastic Mauna Kea Mountain and Hilo Bay views. Honolii Stream with breathtaking waterfalls borders the north side of the property, and another stream borders the south end of the parcel.
Large parcels like this are rare to find so close to Hilo! Currently, cattle graze the rolling pastureland and a portion of the land is being used by a Zipline tour company.
Current zoning is Agriculture, minimum lot size 20 acres. It may be possible to subdivide this property in the future – which would require approval from the County of Hawaii Planning Department.
The large size of this parcel offers a variety of potential uses, or just enjoy the privacy for your own residential estate. The diversified agriculture potential is unlimited: Tropical fruits (Lychee, Mangosteen, Longan), vegetables, ornamentals, livestock grazing land, root ginger, bananas, papaya, etc.
Located just a few minutes from downtown Hilo. The property has its own airstrip, a remnant of the bygone days of the sugar plantations.
Come see this unique property and enjoy the pleasant East Hawaii lifestyle.
For full images and virtual tour, visit http://270620.kellymoran.com
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND: Beautiful Fruit Trees February 21, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Featured Listings, HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND , add a comment
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
Beautiful Fruit Trees
In the 1970s, it was hard to buy a fruit tree on the Big Island. A handful of people grew fruit commercially, but none raised young trees for sale. “It’s a whole different world today,” said Susi Hamilton, whose Plant-It Hawaii nursery now supplies about one-fourth of all the fruit trees you’ll find here at retail.
Susi came here 35 years ago from California, looking to grow her own food, but she especially wanted to grow fresh fruit on the six acres she and her brother Eric bought in Hawaiian Acres. But in those days, she recalled, “There was no nursery trade. Only a few varieties of fruit trees were actively cultivated here, and many of them, like the rambutans, were descended from seedlings.” She went to the University of Hawaii’s experimental station on the Stainback Highway, but they didn’t teach nursery skills. So she turned to growers like Mr. Iwasaki, who raised only citrus trees, but taught her how to graft and bud; and Phil Ito, from whom she learned propagation techniques.
Armed with those skills, she went to southeast Asia and brought back “named” varieties of tropical fruit trees, planted a dozen or so, and selected the ones that did best here to specialize in. Most of the longon that’s grown here now, for example, came from varieties she found on the Chinese mainland across from Hong Kong.
Bob Hamilton, who grew up here, was a homebuilder when he and Susi met and started dating, but he soon became her partner in the nursery business, which they moved to the present 20-acre site in Kurtistown. Eric worked with them in the fields, in the early years, but nowadays he runs their post-harvest fruit export processing facility.
“For a while,” she said, “we operated a successful fruit stand on Highway 11, mauka of Kurtistown, and sold vegetables there too, from local ‘micro-farmers.’ We started a tropical fruit cooperative with other growers, to purchase and sell together, which helped to keep prices stable and ensure high quality control. But we were always the packers. Even today, our products are shipped in what we call ‘the yellow box,’ which wholesalers and retailers know stands for high quality.”
But their goal, all along, was to have a fruit-tree nursery. And in the 1980s and ‘90s, with the demise of sugar, a lot of acreage that had been in cane was put back into production with fruit trees. “Our timing was impeccable,” said Susi. “The formula, so to speak is: ‘Ag land plus nursery cultivars equals synergy.’
“We’re selling Plant-It Hawaii because we’re getting older, and I’m happy about that. I’ve had a great time doing this. But our kids are grown, and it’s time to move on. I’m still healthy, so I want to paint, do photography, and travel. But we’re not leaving. It’s only the nursery and processing business we’re selling: not Hula Brothers, our fruit business. We’ll stay and provide consultation and training for new owners. I want them to be successful. There are expansion opportunities in exports, and online sales. Demand is driving local expansion too, and I haven’t wanted to expand. If the turnkey nursery sells, it will be to someone young and energetic who can take my place. I think they might want to focus on lychee – there’s a crop that totally under-planted!”
Plant-It Hawaii is well-positioned for a new owner: the production manager, ten full-time and two part-time employees are all in place. “Our workforce is terrific! Even the managers do production work – whatever needs to be done, everyone pitches in. They’re loyal people, dedicated to the business; most have been here ten years or more, a few have been with us more than twenty years. And that gives us very high quality control. We stand behind all our products. Trees don’t go out of here until they’re ready to plant.”
And Plant-It Hawaii is doing very well. “Last year was our biggest ever,” she said, “with $800,000 in gross sales, yielding over $250,000 in profit. Even in an otherwise down-market, fruit trees are a growth industry.” Plant-It Hawaii is the leading nursery in its field for a variety of reasons, but as Susi puts it: “What we really do best is grow beautiful fruit trees.”
For more information on this incredible offering, see:
AUCTION: March 22nd! Luxurious Oceanfront Residential Estate! February 17, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Upcoming Events, Updates , add a comment
AUCTION: March 22nd. Previously $26.5M. Selling Without Reserve, to the highest bidder. Set on a breathtaking cliff along the Hamakua Coast, this former macadamia nut plantation has been transformed into a jaw-dropping, 9.44-acre estate with unparalleled amenities and never-ending views of the Pacific. This is a home for big living — for plunging off the high dive, hitting a hole in one, listening to the rush of waterfalls, and spectacular whale watching from your bedroom.
The four story superstructure of reinforced concrete is designed for any floor plan. A central 52 inch round elevator makes all three floors of living space accessible to all. No expense has been spared. First class athletic facilities include: an Olympic size swimming and diving pool, a private golf course, and a tennis and basketball stadium.
This residential estate on 8 oceanfront acres has a rooftop deck built to accommodate helicopter landings. Enter on the second floor, where you’ll find a spectacular entry, grand living room with wet bar, a chef’s kitchen and all with waterfall and ocean views. Floors are oyster quartzite, and travertine, counters –blue Labrador granite, appliances – stainless steel. Centrally located is a 3-story Daytona pneumatic handicap capable elevator.
The third level houses two master suites, each with “his & hers” bathrooms and spa tubs, walk-in closets and covered lanais. The mezzanine area houses an office and an exercise room with bar. The pool level houses a game room, media area, large wet bar and two guest suites. There are 4 bedrooms located in the main residence, and an additional bedroom in the guest house adjacent to the parking garage.
Also included in the sale price an adjacent 1.36 acre parcel.
For info and pics sent instantly to your mobile device: Text “196323″ to 79564.
For full images and virtual tour, go to: www.waterfallingestate.com