Hawaii Briefs: Koa Forest For Sale; Seese’s New Post, IPO for Beach Walk Owner

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5,226 Acres of Koa Forest May Be Sold


Thousands of acres of Koa wood forest on the Big Island may be in for a change of ownership because of a bankruptcy in Oregon.

Arlie & Co., a Eugene, Oregon-based real estate development and management company, filed a reorganization plan Monday that calls for the sale or refinancing of 5,226 acres it owns under the West Hilo Tree Farm name.

It said an auction of the property could bring between $29 million and $50 million, or that a refinancing of the property would free up substantial money for the company.

“Over the years the Debtor has had numerous inquiries about the West Hilo Tree Forest from timber management organizations, forest product companies, investors, state agencies and even conservationists,” said a filing by Arlie in an Oregon bankruptcy court.

The Oregon company noted a Hong Kong lender has asserted it has a lien on the West Hilo property but that it believes the claim is void because it was made after Arlie filed for bankruptcy reorganization in January 2010.

The filing notes Arlie also owns 363 acres elsewhere on the Big Island known as the Puueo Estate and forest. It said Fifth Third Bank may receive a secured interest in the estate as part of the reorganization plan. It said the acreage has a value of between $2.5 million to $13 million.

Seese Named Acting Energy Administrator for State

Estrella Seese has been named acting Energy Administrator for the state’s Energy Office following the departure of Ted Peck, who resigned to join a group exploring the purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries.

Sesse has represented the state in energy-policy related proceedings and previously was director of pricing at Hawaiian Electric Co. She holds a Master of Arts degree in economics from the University of Hawaii and was an East-West Center Degree Scholar.

Waikiki Beach Walk Owner files for IPO

The San Diego-based owner of Waikiki Beach Walk and Waikele Center has filed to sell about $500 million of shares through an initial public offering.

American Assets Trust, owner of retail, mixed-used, office and residential real estate in California and Hawaii, said in a regulatory filing it wants to sell 25 million shares priced between $19 and $21 each. The company would use the proceeds to pay down debt and for other purposes.

The company’s holdings in Hawaii also include the 369-suite Embassy Suites at Waikiki Beach Walk and the Shops at Kalakaua. The shares, if issued, would trade under the ticker symbol “AAT.”

The lead underwriters for the offering are Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Securities.

Walt Disney Co. To Sponsor Minority Committee

The Walt Disney Co. has agreed to become the 2011 sponsor of the Hawaii Minority Business Advisory Committee, which counsels firms on being certified as a minority-owned enterprise to better compete for supplier contracts.

Disney has previously hosted minority-owned business enterprise training sessions for Hawaii Minority Supplier Certification.

“One of our goals during the building process and beyond is to support local, minority owned businesses.” said Djuan Rivers, vice president, Disney Vacation Club and Resort, Hawaii.