Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series exploring land ownership near Honolulu’s proposed 20-mile elevated rail line. The data for the series was produced for Civil Beat by Hawaii Information Service, a public records and real estate data firm.

Last week, Civil Beat explained that the list of “landowners” that served as the basis for stories about potential future development around the proposed Honolulu rail system included both traditional “fee simple” owners as well as property lessees, or leasehold owners.

The last piece of the puzzle is land lessors, the underlying owners of leased land. The length and terms of each lease determines how each entity stands to benefit.

If the lease is decades long, then the lessee’s future control over the land is valuable. But in the event of a short lease — some could even be month-to-month — then the underlying owner is the party that could make a lot of money by selling or developing the land.

There’s no easy way to know the lease terms for every parcel on Oahu, but our partners at Hawaii Information Service are able to tell part of the story. We’ve crunched the numbers for all lessors within 2,500 feet of the rail line, not including condominium property regimes (CPRs). There are 333 different entities that lease out 959 properties totaling more than 2,700 acres.

Here’s the list of the top 25 lessors near the rail line:

Large Property Lessors

Lessor No. of Parcels Total Land Area (acres)
United States Of America 15 1,081.9
State Of Hawaii 49 372.7
University Of Hawaii 5 352.8
B P Bishop Estate 164 256.0
S Of H Dot Airports Div 64 131.9
Loyalty Development Co Ltd 30 36.2
Hawaii Housing Fin And Dev Corp 8 34.6
Queen Emma Foundation The 10 21.2
Tsm Properties Llc 29 20.5
Weinberg, H & J Fndtn Inc 10 17.9
Hawaiian Home Lands 21 16.7
Robinson, J L P Limited Partnership/Etal 8 16.2
S Of H Dot Harbors Div 19 16.2
Victoria Ward Limited 37 15.7
K J L Associates 16 15.7
Cp Kam Properties Llc 1 14.0
Robin 1 Properties Llc 14 13.1
U Yamane Ltd 4 12.9
Masters Properties Llc 19 12.6
Robinson, Mark A & Mary K H Tr 1 11.3
City And County Of Honolulu 17 10.1
Shaw Foundation Properties 8 9.3
Hd Hawaii 421 Partnership Ltd 1 9.0
Hawaii Comm Dev Authority 6 8.8
Tatsuichi Ota Inc 7 6.4
Top 25 563 2,514.0
Total 959 2,723.8

Source: Hawaii Information Service

And here’s the list of the top 10 property holders, when fee simple ownership as well as lessors and lessees are taken into account. Coming up with an exact number of acres for each owner would be complex, so this is a rough approximation of the largest entities with the most at stake near the rail line.

Fee Simple, Lessors and Lessees Together

Rank “Owner”
1 United States Of America
2 Ohana Military Communities LLC
3 D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes
4 State of Hawaii
5 City and County of Honolulu
6 State of Hawaii Department of Transportation-Airports Division
7 Aloun Farms
8 University Of Hawaii
9 Bernice P. Bishop Estate
10 Hawaiian Electric Co.

Source: Hawaii Information Service

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