Tyler Greene and Chad Waters, partners Greenewaters Group
When Tyler Greene responded to an ad for an investment opportunity on Craigslist in 2008, he had no idea the ensuing meet-up would mark the start of a lifelong business partnership and friendship. It was shortly after the recession hit and he was hunting for potential deals in Hawai‘i, hoping to break into the local market, when he noticed Chad Waters’ ad. With their deep experience and complementary backgrounds, a professional collaboration just made sense, aside from the fact that they got along so well. “Our meeting was an opportunity that came from an unexpected place. Life can be funny that way,” Greene says. “Growing with Chad and creating something of significance from very humble beginnings has been a very joyful experience.”
Today they run Honolulu-based GreeneWaters Group LLC, a subsidiary of Bridge Real Estate Hawaii, which became the single largest purchaser of foreclosed properties in the state of Hawai‘i for several years. Prior to starting the firm in 2008, both Greene and Waters owned their own real estate development and brokerage companies. Their extensive history in the industry covered all facets of real estate development, including financing, entitlements and development management. Now, as managing partners, the two have helped the company gain momentum with a diverse portfolio of successful bulk condominium purchases and conversions, subdivision and hospitality projects and new construction development across the Hawaiian Islands.
GreeneWaters Group is known for slipping between the cracks and finding niche properties that others may overlook—something the guys refer to as “the hidden-gem approach.” The pair is notorious for taking on ambitious projects that shed traditional development standards and leverage the unique beauty of the local environment. Their high-profile restoration of the Coco Palms Resort on Kaua‘i, made famous by the film Blue Hawaii and vacant since Hurricane Iniki hit in 1992, has garnered a lot of support and speculation. It’s currently in the demolition phase and on track to open in mid-2018. “We understood that because of the list of challenges associated with the property, there would be fewer people competing for this project,” Greene says. “We knew that if we rolled up our sleeves and went to work, we would have the opportunity to bring back an important, iconic property for Hawai‘i.” With a lot to live up to, the GreeneWaters team is taking the time to give every little detail careful consideration—like finding an ambassador as warm and welcoming as the original owner, Grace Guslander, to recreate the resort’s original chemistry and sense of place.
Other recent projects include Olomana Heights, a 64-acre homesite community surrounded by conservation land, adding an additional 80 rooms to the Mokihana oceanfront hotel on Kaua‘i’s Royal Coconut Coast, and Kuauli Estates, a single-family residential subdivision on O‘ahu’s North Shore. Their newly built Waikalua Bayside community invigorated the landscape of 50-year- old homes at the end of Waikalua Road, with 20 paired and singlefamily homes fronting Kane‘ohe Bay.
With strengths that pair well, Greene and Waters hustle toward the common end of serving community, clients and investors while maintaining a work-life balance under the philosophy of “work hard, play hard.” Together they lead the firm with ambition and fortitude that make them highly resistant to adversity. Greene has a knack for being empathetic towards his team members’ and clients’ needs and goals, and Waters is an expert at instilling confidence in others to help them break out of their comfort zones and embrace challenges. “Ultimately through our work we are earning the opportunity to live, work and play in Hawai‘i,” Greene says. “We hope that the projects we take on add value to the neighborhood, island and state.” They often survey the residents and businesses in new development areas to get feedback on characteristics that might benefit the community as a whole.
Greene’s personal mantra is to work efficiently while maintaining relations that encourage and foster success with everyone affected by the firm’s projects. He’s driven by a sincere desire to elevate his knowledge as an individual and a real estate development professional. Waters combines his progressive vision with objective-driven strategies to achieve profitability and enjoys scouting the hidden opportunities that others may not see. “Though managing the timing of development can be extremely challenging due to all the aspects that are beyond our control, like county and state regulatory timing or weather, optimism and a commitment to creative problem solving keeps things moving forward,” Waters says.
At the firm’s founding, the dynamic duo agree that strategic alignment with others who have a strong work ethic and complementary skills is a fundamental part of success in the development industry. “Coming together as a partnership from a chance meeting, planning and setting goals and working diligently to actualize those goals is what we’re most proud of,” Greene says. “Hopefully in the process we enhance the quality of life around us and help Hawai‘i continue to be a wonderful and beautiful place.”