Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

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*****Kauai Real Estate Update*****

A New York lender will acquire the foreclosed units at the Ilikai Hotel and condominium owned by developer Brian Anderson.  The Ilikai Hotel is the famous Waikiki hotel that was featured in the opening scenes of Hawaii 5-0.  The developer had gotten into serious financial trouble when he converted the hotel into fee simple condominiums, the market turned and he was left holding many of the units.

First Circuit Judge Karen N. Blondin confirmed the sale of the 203 residential units and the 16 commercial units to iStar Financial on Thursday morning for a total of $51 million.

For a list of list of what came on the market and what sold CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

*****Visitor Drowns at Tunnels Beach*****

A 76 year old visitor from Spokane Washington drowned at Tunnels Beach
which is located in Ha’ena.  The visitor had alerted his son that he was in
trouble and his son signaled lifeguards who brought the man to shore and
applied CPR.  The man was taken to Wilcox hospital where he was pronounced

A second death by drowning occurred on Tuesday.  A 69 year old visitor who was described as in “fantastic shape” was swimming with a friend at Molo’a which does not have a lifeguard.  Waves had quickly increased in size and the visitor from San Clemente was overcome.

*****4 Homes and 1 Poipu Condo Hit By Burglars*****

Last Monday between 4 homes in Kalaheo and 1 condo in Poipu were the
targets of burglars who took cash, jewelry and laptop computers.  In one of
the homes the thieves rifled through drawers in the bedroom and after they
discovered a home safe made off with it.  All break-ins were done when the
residents were not home and an anonymous source told the newspaper that it
seemed the burglars knew when the residents would be away.

In Poipu a condo on Puuholo Road entered through a locked screen slider
door and took a large wall mounted TV and a laptop computer.  No one was in
the unit at the time.

*****Top Baby Names In Hawaii*****

The top male baby name in Hawaii is Ethan and the number one baby girl name
is Chloe.  Other favorite names here in the islands were (in order) Noah,
Isaiah, Jaydne, Elijah, Joshua, Jacob, Aiden, Tyler and James for the boys.
For girls it was Isabella, Madison, Mia, Sophia, Ava, Lily, Hailey, Emma
and Kayla.

*****Stand Up Paddleboarders Under Fire*****

In recent years the popularity of stand up paddleboarding has become increasingly popular and tensions are rising between the paddleboarders and surfers, so much so that the state Department of Natural Resources is hosting an informal public discussion regarding the use of stand up paddelboarding here on Kauai.  The public is invited to share their thoughts and concerns on June 10 at Cheifess Kamakahelei School in Puhi.  As a side note; the business of stand up paddleboarding is booming!  Sales, rentals and general interest in the new sport is way up and surf shops are cashing in.  The biggest difference between the two sports is the paddleboard is great in flat water so good waves are not needed to enjoy yourself.

*****Hawaiian Monk Seal Shot*****

A couple that were walking on a secluded path to a North Shore beach heard popping sounds, which could have been gunfire, and then saw a Monk Seal scamper into the water last Thursday.  The couple headed for the seal who was bleeding from the mouth and tried to help it out of the water but it was too heavy.  A man who was standing by his truck told the couple he was the caretaker of the property near the beach but they didn’t see him with a weapon.  The couple did provide photographs to the police but are keeping their identity and the location of the beach private for fear of retaliation.

On April 19th another male seal had been killed in what has been called “foul play”.  Investigations are still pending and authorities are seeing if the two incidents are linked.

Hawaiian Monk Seals are one of the most endangered animals in the US, there are estimated only 1,300 remaining.

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

*****Hawaii Foreclosures Down in April*****

The state of Hawaii got some good news on the foreclosure war zone for the
month of April.  Statewide our foreclosure listings were down to 684 from
724 in the month of March.  Of the four counties Honolulu had almost half
of those at 280 but overall had the lowest with 1 foreclosure filing per
1,154 households.  So how did the rest of the islands do with their
foreclosure filings?
The Big Island 184 per 422 households
Maui 158 per 411 households
Kauai 52 per 561 households

We had another week of a good number of closed transactions!  For an excel spreadsheet of what came on the market and what closed CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

*****Confessed Fraud Artist Found Dead*****

James Lull was a no show at his hearing on Oahu last Thursday and the
reason became clear on Friday.  He was found dead behind the wheel of his
car in Yakima, Washington but some of his victims say it would not be
beyond him to fake his own death.  James Lull had confessed to having
defrauded 50 people, most of them Kauai residents, out of over $20 million
dollars.  Lull was not as co-operative as he said he would be in his plea
agreement and was out on $100,000 dollar bail.  Lull had filed for
bankruptcy and the courts had been assigned to finding his assists and were
having a hard time doing so.  It was hoped that Lull would become more
co-operative but if it is indeed Lull behind the wheel of his truck that
went over a cliff in Washington there will be no information coming from
him.  The courts say this will not stop them from searching for his assists.

*****Scholarship Funds Taken at Break-In at Kapa’a High School*****

The air-conditioner on the floor was the first thing noticed when a teacher
arrived at Kapa’a High School on Monday morning.  The thieves had pushed in
the air-conditioner and went through the room but only took the scholarship
money that was going to be deposited that day.

*****Hilo Hatties in Trouble*****

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge is allowing the owner of Hilo Hatties to run
the company until at least late June.  A committee of unsecured creditors
asked for a neutral party to assume control of the struggling iconic store
but failed in their efforts.  Hilo Hatties planned to open a $6 million
dollar flagship store in Waikiki but failed to secure funding, they plan
instead to open a series of smaller stores in heavily traveled tourist

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Christie’s Great Estates - Your Link to Distinctive Properties Worldwide
*****Kauai Home Sales up for April 2009*****

Kauai has some good Real Estate news to report; the number of homes sold island wide on Kauai was up and the median home price went up as well by 4%.  In April of 2008 the median price for a home was $575,000 and it’s now at $600,000.  Condos did not do as well here on the Garden Island, the number of sales is off by 3 and the median sales price is down by 47% from last year.  The island of Hawaii had a harder hit with the median sales price for condos dropping 53% and their home prices dropped as well by 38%.So how did we do last week?  For a list of what came on the market and what has sold CLICK HERE FOR SALES SPREADSHEET

*****Hawaii’s Governor Rally’s Public Support Against Tax Increase But Loses*****

Vowing to follow through on her pledge to veto the tax increase that was approved by our House and Senate Committees Governor Linda Lingle called for the public and hotels and business support via Webcam, radio and a public veto ceremony.  Lingle states that public employee labor costs could be an alternative way to balance the budget rather than the hike in hotel room tax from 7.25% to 9.25%, tax increase on those making over $150,000 annually and joint filers who make over $300,000, also higher taxes on the sale or transfer of real estate valued over 2 million.  But the Senate and House over rode her veto and starting next year these measures will go into effect. 

****Same Sex Marriage Bill Shelved*****

 On Thursday the state Senate officially shelved the Civil Union bill that would allow same sex couples to marry, the bill will be addressed again next year.  It was a long fight and emotions ran high on both sides of the issue.  Legislatures spent hours on internal and public debate on the bill but wound up amending it which means it will need to be reviewed by lawmakers in the next legislative session in January 2010.

*****Machete Fight Erupts on Kuhio Highway*****

During a traffic altercation two Kauai residents got out of their cars and pulled knives on each other at the intersection of Kuhio Highway and Kealia Beach.  The men were driving separate pickup trucks preparing to enter Kuhio Highway on the egress from Kealia Beach at 7 am.  They began arguing and one man attempted to flee in his car but wound up colliding with a minivan.  The other man left his car and crossed the street to the accident where the argument was resumed and machete like knives were pulled out.  Both men suffered some minor injuries and both men were taken by police to Wilcox Hospital.

*****Target Expands to the Big Island*****

300 people will be hired to work in the latest Target Store in Hawaii which will be located in Kona and is set to open in July.  The first Target store opened earlier this year in Oahu and the public has been beyond thrilled with the store.  Kauai people have travelled over exclusively to shop at the store which offers low prices and fashionable goods for home and fashion.    

*****Safeway Moves Forward With Puhi Store*****

Life will get a little easier for those Westside and Southshore residents who want to shop at Safeway.  The 40 minute (or more) ride to Kapaa will be no more when the 56,000 square foot “Safeway Lifestyle Store” will open on Kaumualii Highway in Puhi.  In addition to the new grocery store the company is talking with 14 different tenants that want to occupy the new Hokulei Village shopping center.  The store will employ up to 200 people and the center itself should generate 1,000 jobs.  No timetable was stated but the company made the announcement that the 23 acre commercial zoned parcel has been completed.

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Christie’s Great Estates - Your Link to Distinctive Properties Worldwide

*****Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update*****

Our weather has turned gorgeous and it looks like we have shaken off the unually cold winter that we had.  Island wide the tourist traffic has been less but the rental companies have gotten a huge amount of calls with people wanting to change their trip from Mexico to Hawaii due to the swine flu outbreak.  Over the next few months we’ll see what that does to our occupancy rates. 

 On the real estate front it’s been a quieter week for sales but activity has been way up.  For a list of all the new listings and closed transactions island wide  CLICK HERE FOR AN EXCEL SPREADSHEET

 *****Rental Cars Catch Fire!*****

People returning their rental cars at Alamo on Sunday evening got quite a show when 1 rental car caught fire and ignited 3 more around it.  The cars were in the Alamo lot waiting for pick when one caught on fire, cause is still unknown.  The Lihue Airport fire crew responded and put the fires out within minutes.  Visitors at waiting in line said they could hear small explosions and it was also reported that you could smell the smoke all through the airport.

*****Coco Palms Granted Extension*****

The Kauai Planning Commission gave a three year extension to the owners of CoCo Palms which is the last resort on the island that has not been renovated from the 1992 hurricane.  The deadline was 2010 and it’s been extended to 2013 provided the owners 1) Clean up the land 2) Establish a plan to manage the drainage ditch on site 3) Complete the nomination of the fish pond to the National Register of Historic Places.

Some local residents voiced their concern over the extension saying enough time has passed.  The landowner sited difficult times and said they needed the extension to seek additional investors.  The extension specified January 25, 2013 as the date that all construction needs to be completed.

*****Hawaii’s Leading Shipping Line Says Competitors are Unfair*****

Young Brothers, Hawaii’s leading shipping company, has plenty to say these days about a new shipping line that is starting up here in the islands.  They have requested intervene status with the state Public Utilities Commission and are setting up public hearings.  The Pasha Group which is based in California is being accused of “cherry picking” routes that are profitable for their shipping.  Young Brothers state they are not afraid of competition but would like a level playing field as they had signed a Certificate of Pubic Convenience and Necessity which obligates them to serve the less profitable ports of Lanai and Molokai.  By the new company serving only the profitable routes they will be able to have lower prices but will not serve the state as a whole.

*****Hawaii Moves to Halt Ceded Land Sales*****

A recent Superior Court ruling allows for the State of Hawaii to sell it’s lands but a new bill is being sent through that would require two thirds of both the State House and Senate to approve a sale.  Given how difficult it is to have two thirds to agree to anything it’s a sure fire way to keep the State from selling formally Hawaiian Monarchy held lands.