POSTED: 15 JULY 2007 - 11:00am HST

Speculator Spotting on Kauai

image above: Steve Case sports the casual Hawaiian businessman look. And no, he's not here to golf.

Commuting with Developers
by Juan Wilson 15 July 2007

Last Thursday at about 5:00pm, my wife Linda and I were at Lihue Airport waiting at Gate 6 for a Hawaiian Airline flight to Oahu.

We had given ourselves extra time to get to town from Hanapepe because there had been a wildfires in the Puhi area and it was close to rush hour. We were surprised and delighted to breeze into town, hardly hitting a light, much less bumper-to-bumper traffic. We were almost an hour early.

The airport, however, was a different matter. The parking lot was filled to capacity. We finally found a spot off the blacktop, in a temporarily fenced area near the taxi stand.

We got to our departure gate with about 15 minutes to spare. With nothing else to do I began studying my fellow travelers to see what they were about. I spotted a gal who worked at Eleele School with my wife. We saw some local families with kids in tow. Several couples appeared to be tourists on the way home.

There was another category that I focused in on after watching two men in front of me. They appeared in their forties. One looked like a retired California surfer who had turned to selling real estate. White teeth, jeans and a Hawaiian shirt. The other looked like Indiana Jones ready to start a new adventure. Indy had a cardboard tube and was extracting a bound roll of drawings.

The two poured over the drawings, smiling and commenting. I decided to get up and stretch my legs to get a closer look. I spotted a key map on one sheet and realized the focus of their attention was a pretty big chunk of the Moloaa area. They had color aerial maps with overlaid plans.

On my stretch, I walked down to the check-in desk and came across about a half dozen middle aged guys smiling and joking with each other. The dress pants and tropo-style knit shirts on a few of them gave them away; consultants representing a developer.

image above: The Beach Villas at Ko Olina Resort and Condominiums features an impressive array of amenities and is the perfect balance between natural surroundings and luxury.

The oldest guy among these guys had the craggy, silverback look of a tested money maker. His pudgy sidekick was wearing a Marriott Ko Olina Beach Resort polo shirt. They all seemed pleased with themselves. I figure the "suits" were on island for some inside dealing with the "county boys".

Having found eight, I began searching for the faces of other developers and speculators on the Thursday evening commute back to Oahu. I could only guess there were more hiding amongst the civilians. They had their plans and their disguises, like wolves amongst the sheep.

All this probably means more agland subverted into MacMansions and more coastline converted to four story high concrete time-share bunkers.
image above: Kevin M. Showe - the man behind the revival
of the Kauai Lagoons project; just another real estate agent

from Ohio interested in the best for Kauai.

For more see:
Island Breath: Kauai Lagoons at Airport 3/18/08
Island Breath: Koloa Landing 6/28/2007
Island Breath: Coconut Coast & Ko Olina Coast 6/1/2007
Island Breath: Overdevelopment on Kauai 9/10/2007
Island Breath: Overdeveloped Coconut Coast
Island Breath: Bad Planning in Waipoli
Island Breath: Coco Palms breaks promise