George Clooney, Kauai Real Estate, Shark Chomps Surfboard

Real Estate News

Another solid week for closed transactions and properties going into escrow.  Kauai is benefiting for the race to get properties into escrow for the first time homebuyer credit.  To get this you need to have a binding written contract in place by April 30 and close no later than June 30, 2010. 

For an excel spreadsheet on what is in escrow, sold and new listings CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET 

United Airlines and Continental Merger Talks Stall Out

Talks between United Airlines and Continental stalled out over the weekend due to a disagreement on a price for “stock-for-stock” deal.  More specifically the two companies have not been able to reach an agreement on the value of the stocks so merger talk hit a huge snag.

Shark Chomps Off End of Surfboard

Last Monday a 14 foot tiger shark bit off the tail end of a local surfers board in Hanalei Bay.  A fellow surfer, who was near at the time of the attack, said the “water boiled” as the tiger shark swam by towards his surfing companions board where it took a bite out of the tale end.  The surfer started yelling for help on the assumption that the shark pulled his buddy into the water but it turns out the surfer had dove off his board to undo the leash that was fastened around his ankle.  The surfer also said that “The shark was spitting pieces of the board out right under me!”

George Clooney Stops Traffic in Hanalei

Well, kind of.  A spot on Kuhio Highway in the heart of Hanalei was shut down for filming on Tuesday at the time that students were dismissed from school causing a traffic nightmare for the folks in Hanalei.  If you’ve ever been to the small town of Hanalei you’d know it would not take much to have a traffic problem, add in the mix “The Descendants” which is being directed by and starring George Clooney and you’ve got a real mess on your hands.  On Tuesday and Wednesday filming was taking place by the Tahiti Nui restaurant and bar, film trucks and other cars literally filled up Hanalei. 

George Costa, director of the county Office of Economic Development, said via e-mail that the temporary inconveniences of traffic stoppages are outweighed by the economic advantages of film-making.

 “As the island of Kaua‘i and its people continue to struggle through the challenges of this down economy, there are also opportunities and rays of hope that provide economic relief.  During the next three to four months, Kaua‘i will be one of the Hawaiian islands to host at least three major Hollywood productions,” including “The Descendants,” starring Clooney, “currently being filmed in various locations including Hanalei this week,” said Costa.

Adam Sandler will be filming ‘Pretend Wife’ and there currently are casting calls for Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp.

“Although short-lived, these productions will provide an infusion of capital into our economy, put people to work and have another movie credit to (the) storied list that would make most islands, states and countries envious” Costa said.

 Transient Accommodations Tax Scare Over

Governor Linda Lingle had made a move to transfer the Transient Accommodations money collected on room stays in all the islands to be diverted to Oahu and out of the local county coffers.  The Mayors for Kauai, Maui and the Big Island banned together and staved off the diversion which for the island of Kauai is about 8% of the county operating budget money.

 Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, D-Lihu‘e-Koloa, said Kaua‘i received somewhere between $11 and 12 million from the TAT last year, representing roughly 14 percent of the TAT. At least half that amount was being threatened to be taken away.  Tokioka also said it’s really important that Kaua‘i keeps the TAT, because the county provides essential services to tourists, from keeping beaches safe with staffed lifeguards to search-and-rescue operations.  A portion of the TAT goes to pay for the Hawai‘i Convention Center in Honolulu, and a marketing fund. Whatever is left is distributed to each county, according to Tokioka.

Missing Tourist From Wailua Falls Tour Found

On Wednesday officials recovered the body of Ryan Soper, the 26 year old visitor from Utah who went missing last week on a Wailua Falls tour.  County officials announced Friday that an autopsy revealed Soper died of a massive head injury.

The body was discovered around noon in a remote area above Secret Falls, county officials said. A helicopter service was utilized to retrieve the body, which was taken to Wilcox Memorial Hospital around 6 p.m.

While on the tour Soper had climbed a tree to get a photo and fell 15 feet and landed on top of his mother-in-law who broke her ankle when he landed on her.  Soper seemed okay and had some minor cuts and the family and tour group turned their attention to the mother.  It’s now believed that his erratic behavior before running off into the woods was due to a concussion in the fall.

Unemployment Up in Kauai

Kauai unemployment went up from the February figure of 9.1 to 9.3.  Job losses have slowed to a lower rate than 2009.  Comparing Kauai to our neighbor islands our unemployment is a little below average;

In February, Maui’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent and rose to 8.9 percent last month. The Big Island came in at 10.1 last month, up from 9.8 percent in February. O‘ahu, however, went from 5.7 percent in February down to 5.6 in March.  Oahu has a more diverse economy and is less dependent on tourism than the outer islands.


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