A&B buys Queens’ MarketPlace

  • The Queens’ MarketPlace food court draws a large lunch crowd on Wednesday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Queens’ MarketPlace — “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast” — has a new owner. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Queens’ MarketPlace — “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast” — has a new owner. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Queens’ MarketPlace — “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast” — has a new owner. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Queens’ MarketPlace — “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast” — has a new owner.

Alexander &Baldwin Inc.’s $90 million off-market acquisition of the 135,000-square-foot Waikoloa Beach Resort retail center from Waikoloa Land Company was finalized Wednesday.

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“As a local company with a long history in Hawaii, we understand how important a place like Queens’ MarketPlace is to the community it serves. This is truly a special gathering place for residents and visitors alike,” Lance Parker, chief real estate officer with Alexander &Baldwin (A&B), said in a media release. “We appreciate that the Waikoloa Land Company has entrusted us with this center and look forward to continuing its legacy of success.”

Queens’ MarketPlace was developed in 2007 by Waikoloa Land Company “to elevate the uniqueness of Hawaii’s melting pot society, showcasing the numerous cultures that influenced these islands through architecture, shopping, cuisine, performances, and artifacts.” It’s located about 20 miles north of Kailua-Kona.

Anchored by the 24,000-square-foot Island Gourmet Market, Queens’ MarketPlace offers 135,000 square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment options for visitors and residents alike. That’s in addition to entertainment venues like the Coronation Pavilion, outdoor Waikoloa Bowl and three-screen Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas.

With the acquisition, A&B now owns, operates and manages approximately 3.8 million square feet of primarily retail and industrial space across the state. The 150-year-old company touts itself as “Hawaii’s premier real estate company and the state’s foremost owner of grocery-anchored retail centers.”

It also nearly doubles A&B’s presence on the Big Island, increasing the total square footage under its purview to 291,500, a company spokesman confirmed. Prior to the acquisition of Queens’ MarketPlace, A&B’s Big Island portfolio included the 83,300-square-foot Lanihau Center and 73,200-square-foot Honokohau Industrial Park, both in Kailua-Kona.

Funding the purchase of Queens’ MarketPlace were proceeds from the sale of 41,000 of acres of Maui farm land in December, according to A&B.

Since offloading the acreage, A&B has acquired more than $257.2 million in new commercial real estate on Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii islands. That includes, in addition to Queens’ MarketPlace, the purchase of three warehouse buildings in Kapolei, Oahu, for $66.5 million; a ground lease under the Iwilei, Oahu, Home Depot for $42 million; an industrial ground lease in Kapolei, Oahu, for $41 million; and the 56,000-square-foot Waipouli Town Center on Kauai.

“Through this process, we’ve been able to expand each of our major asset categories — retail, industrial and ground leases — as well as our geographic coverage across the state. These acquisitions include a diverse mix of high-quality, high-performing assets, strong tenants and attractive locations that elevate our entire commercial real estate portfolio,” said Lance Parker, A&B chief real estate officer.

After announcing the acquisition, A&B’s stock increased slightly, closing at $23.49 per share, up from $23.28 when the market opened. A&B is one of just a dozen publicly traded companies headquartered in the state.

Waikoloa Land Co. will continue to manage the Waikoloa Beach Resort, and numerous other assets. The company, founded in 1978, designed, developed, and collaborates with partners to operate the 1,350-acre Waikoloa Beach Resort along the Kohala Coast and the 2,800-acre residential community Waikoloa Village 6 miles above.

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“Queens’ MarketPlace has become a fixture on the Kohala Coast for local families and visitors alike to shop, eat, and enjoy world-renowned entertainment,” said Scott Head, vice president of resort operations at Waikoloa Land Company, in the release. “Since our founding nearly 40 years ago, Waikoloa Land Company has always strived to create a gathering place that is worthy of Waikoloa’s rich history. As a company, we remain deeply committed to fulfilling this mission and vision.”

Neither A&B nor Waikoloa Land Company returned calls seeking additional comment and details on the acquisition and what the future holds for Queens’ MarketPlace and Waikoloa Beach Resort as of press time on Wednesday.

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