The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading of Ward Village’s parent company on Thursday after the firm sparked a buying frenzy on Wall Street with an announcement it was considering “strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.”

Howard Hughes Corp. said it’s mulling a range of options, including selling or spinning off assets, which include the Seaport District development in Manhattan and The Woodlands in Houston as well as Ward Village, the Kakaako development that Howard Hughes has been redeveloping at a phenomenal pace.

David Weinreb, Howard Hughes’ chief executive, said the Dallas-based real estate investment trust was considering the various options because the company’s market value was lagging the value of its underlying assets.

“Our business continues to perform extremely well across our three core segments, with price per acre of land sold, net operating income, and condo sales all exceeding our expectations; however, our stock continues to languish below its net asset value per share,” he said in a news release.

For the past five years, Howard Hughes has been redeveloping Kakaako at an astounding pace. As of March, the company had either opened or was planning just under 2,700 condominiums in its master-planned Ward Village project at the east end of Kakaako.

It’s a massive redevelopment: The estimated cost so far is approaching $2 billion, and the company reported profits of $726 million in its report to shareholders for 2018.

With millions of shares changing hands after the announcement, stock exchange officials called a timeout for a while, then let trading resume by the end of the day. When the dust settled, Howard Hughes shares had risen 39 percent, to $129 compared with Wednesday’s close of around $92.

This news can't wait.

Every day, journalists in nonprofit newsrooms like Civil Beat dig deeper into the raw news of the day to deliver in-depth and investigative reporting that engages communities, advances solutions, and demands accountability. This news can’t wait. So why would you?

Give today and NewsMatch will double the impact of your donation. We’ll even throw in a limited-edition Civil Beat t-shirt!

About the Author