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Jan. 20, 2014

Tennessee Billionaire Acquires Over 3,000 Acres of Land on Kauai

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Tennessee billionaire Brad Kelley recently purchased more than 3,000 acres of agricultural land on the island of Kauai, the Pacific Business News reports.  Lihue-based Grove Farm Co., which is owned by AOL founder Steve Case, sold the property for an undisclosed amount. The land is located in the Puhi area of Lihue.

Biotechnology company Dow AgroSciences LLC of Indiana, owned by Dow Chemical Co., is among the current tenants.

According to Charlie Anderson, principal broker of Hawaii Pacific Brokers LLC, Kelley’s investment is a smart decision. “I think a lot of people are thinking land is a good place to put your money,” he told the newspaper. “I think smart people are land banking, and what better place to have a low cost holding and get income on it than Hawaii.”

Brad Kelley is one of the largest private landowners in the United States, with properties totaling more than 1.5 million acres of ranch lands in Kentucky, Tennessee, New Mexico, Florida and Texas. With a fortune of $2 billion, the 57-year-old Kentucky native also ranks at No. 273 on the Forbes 400 list.

Grove Farm, which is the 10th largest landowner in Hawaii and third largest on Kauai, recently partnered with eBay founder and billionaire Pierre Omidyar for the development of an approximately 580-acre grass-fed dairy farm on the south side of the Garden Isle.

In other news, the Hawaii Community Development Authority has approved the scaled-back version of California developer Franco Mola’s 803 Waimanu St. condominium tower in Kakaako.

According to the Pacific Business News, the proposed project consists of a 65-foot, seven-story building with 153 market-priced residences, including studios and one- and two-bedroom units. Plans also call for a mechanized ground-floor parking garage with 92 spaces.

MJF Development Corp., the company behind the project, had initially applied for the construction of a 250-foot tower with 217 workforce units. The proposal was withdrawn last July.

Photo credits: Julius Silver via Wikimedia Commons

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