What does it take to succeed in Hawai‘i in your line of work?
Success in real estate investment and development requires a full toolbox of skills. You need to have strong relationships, a tolerance and understanding of risk, financial acumen, expertise in navigating government agencies and understanding all of the regulations, as well as an appreciation and ability to interpret and adapt to political and community sentiment. The need for those qualities is amplified in Hawai‘i, especially when it comes to finding paths through the maze of regulations and complying with the review process that is required here.
Words of advice to young real estate developers:
Team up with those with diverse experiences and build their trust through outworking the competition. Astute, standout thinking is critical in order to earn more decision-making authority, whether you’re a part of a firm or out on your own.
On the health of the industry:
I consider a truly healthy industry one in which all sectors are firing, and I don’t think we’ve seen that in decades. We’ve done quite well over the years in responding to cyclical booms for high-end real estate product, largely in hospitality and residential in select submarkets. Generally, the industry and government have not been successful in meeting needs for most residents or businesses, whether that’s providing affordable housing, modern public infrastructure and urban amenities, or in efficiently modernizing key economic drivers like our airports, harbors and other transportation systems. The public and private sectors have to continue working more collaboratively and effectively on that front.
How do you balance innovation and cultural sensitivity in a place like Hawai‘i?
Balance is the right word, not so much with innovation, but with advancing development that respects the culture. Hawaiian culture should be inherent in our industry due to the longevity of our products and because it’s the right thing to do. We also need to build efficiently and effectively in order to best meet the basic industry expansion and housing needs of our population.
What industry trends do you see unfolding in Hawai‘i?
I’ll speak to the O‘ahu trends that James Campbell Company is focused on. It’s a steady march to Kapolei for businesses seeking lower costs and greater growth potential in the most rapidly expanding area in the state. If you total up all of the new residential projects planned in urban Honolulu, it’s only a fraction of what’s planned and being built in the Kapolei area, with an even greater disparity for new single-family housing. The bulk of new hotel development on the island is being built and planned in Kapolei and Ko Olina. We’ve had a directed growth public policy in place now for more than 40 years, but it’s really starting to pick up steam, which is great for our overall economy and quality of life.