Panda Express billionaire founders put their Honolulu penthouse up for sale

The billionaire owners of Panda Restaurant Group, parent company of the Panda Express restaurant chain, have put their Honolulu penthouse up for sale for about $3.6 million, according to public records.

Andrew Cherng and Peggy Cherng, the husband-and-wife founders of Panda Express, have been busy buying Hawaii real estate.

The Cherngs recently purchased a beachfront mansion on Honolulu’s Kahala Avenue that was once owned by the late Honolulu attorney David Schutter for $15.2 million, as first reported by PBN.

They also purchased a parcel in Kapolei in West Oahu from Wal-Mart Stores inc. for $5.75 million.

The Cherngs are now selling their penthouse at the Hokua condominium near Ward Village in Honolulu. The three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom corner unit, which was purchased in 2013 for $3.1 million, is being sold fully furnished. The unit has a total assessed value of about $3 million.

A real estate source tells PBN that the Cherngs bought the penthouse with cash, and tried to sell it last year for about $3.8 million.

The Cherngs, who also paid cash for their Kahala Avenue property purchase, apparently plan to build a new home on that property and may be spending more time in Hawaii.

Trevor Benn, president of Honolulu-based Benn Pacific Group Inc., told PBN that the list of billionaires who have residences in Hawaii is growing.

“Our clean environment and natural beauty, together with strong private schools, make it attractive to the affluent at different life stages,” he said. “Our challenge remains providing housing for all income levels.“

The California-based Panda Restaurant Group, which also owns Panda Inn and Hibachi-San, has 19 Panda Express locations in Hawaii.

PBN reached out to the Panda Restaurant Group for comment Tuesday.

Duane Shimogawa
Pacific Business News

1288 Ala Moana Boulevard 28A

1288 Ala Moana Boulevard 28A

Living on top of the world — Hawaii style

Amenities mean everything when money is no object

Howard Hughes Waiea In a model unit of the planned Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Kakaako, which will soon be home to two ultra-luxury condominium buildings called Waiea and Anaha, and where a yet-to-be-built penthouse.

“Wave at the toilet,” Shanefield, the project’s development manager, tells a guest.

With a flutter of the hand, the lid of the electric toilet, which is made by Toto and retails for around $2,500, opens as if by magic.

From start to finish, the user never has to touch the lavatory.

Welcome to the world of high-end amenities that are now becoming more and more standard in new condos and homes in Hawaii. While Waiea and Anaha won’t be ready for two years, sales began last month. And, while members of the sales team declined to disclose numbers, they say that units, ranging from 727 to 3,500 square feet and priced from $500,000 to more than $20 million, are selling at a brisk pace to high-end buyers who are flush with cash and who want the best in the latest high-end amenities.

What buyers are looking for now in amenities is function. They want all the “extras,” but not extras such as, say, a gift-wrapping room, or four-inch granite countertops that drive the price of a condo up, when a one-inch countertop will do.

They want things, but they want things that they will actually use.

Howard Hughes Waiea“Simplicity seems to be a theme for both the high-end clientele and your median-priced home buyer,” said Ryan MacLaughlin, a Realtor with Island Sotheby’s International Realty on Maui. “Both young and old are looking for the more comfortable, smaller-sized homes with amenities at their fingertips. They are not looking for the mega house or the five-car garage, or the Olympic-sized swimming pool. They seem to be driving their economically efficient car to their more conservative-sized smart home where they can run everything in the home from their iPhone or Pad, and be able to take a dip in their pool in their very private backyard.”

Indeed, but while they don’t want an Olympic-sized pool, they do want an infinity pool, which Anaha will have — in some units. And, if they don’t want a mega-sized home, they want one that makes them feel like they are truly living the quintessential Hawaii lifestyle. Many are moving in because he wants a place where he can maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“The first thing we capitalize on is the view or whatever natural attributes that are obvious,” said Peter Vincent of Peter Vincent Architects. “That’s timeless, but it continues to be a more casual lifestyle. People aren’t looking for a lot of formal spaces. People live in Hawaii because they like the casual lifestyle. There may be elegance, too, but typically they are not looking for formality and really embrace the outdoor lifestyle.”

More than ever, people are willing to pay for that lifestyle and the amenities that make that possible. That includes building homes that are open and airy, rather than compartmentalized.

Home buyers want “flexi-rooms” that can serve dual purposes.

“The key amenity is being outdoors,” said Race Randle, director of development for the Howard Hughes Corp. And that includes while showering, which is why outdoor showers are very popular in single-family homes.

Howard Hughes WaieaRob Kildow, principal broker of Hualalai Realty on the Big Island, sells homes at the resort that range from $5 million to $27 million. People who buy them want to feel like they are outside when they are inside, and vice-versa.

“There is no difference from being outside and inside,” he said.

Once inside, buyers want the best. Kitchens at the Hughes projects have quartzite countertops, with no visible handles on the cabinets. A wine cabinet near the refrigerator, which retails for around $8,000, holds 106 bottles. The Miele refrigerator, which retails for around $8,300, through the power of technology automatically lets a repairman know when it needs to be repaired.

Speaking of automation, it is now considered a standard amenity. With the widespread use of iPads and other tablet computers, everyone can open their blinds without touching them. They can control the temperature, and high-end security systems let them keep an eye on home while they are away.

While the kitchen has always been the hub of many a home, Marion Philpotts-Miller, a principal with Philpotts Interiors in Honolulu, said that is truer than ever today. Separate, alcoved dining areas are out. Developers are concentrating on installing the best appliances, particularly Miele. The Ward Village buildings have Miele ovens — a convection oven, a regular oven and a steam oven – that retail for around $2,000 to $3,000 each. They also feature Miele coffee systems that retail for around $3,000 that Randle calls the best in the world, along with a sliding warming tray for mugs.

Light serves as another functional amenity.

“They like the lighting systems that are much more sophisticated,” Philpotts-Miller said. “Between art lighting and pin stops on floral arrangements to the uplighting of coral walls, it’s become much more of an art and discipline.”

Outside the residences, the amenity levels of the Ward Village buildings include playgrounds, putting greens, open-air dining areas, steam rooms, bars, tennis and volleyball courts, cinemas, media rooms and libraries.

Another major condo project currently underway in Honolulu is ONE Ala Moana, which is being developed by a partnership of the Howard Hughes Corp., The MacNaughton Group and the Kobayashi Group. The building is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and will include a wine-tasting room as well as a chef’s kitchen where residents can host personal chef-inspired dinner parties.

Howard Hughes WaieaMuch of the work for these high-end projects is done off-island. For example, the primary architects and designers on the project are located on the Mainland, Randle said, because few firms on Oahu can handle such a large project by themselves.

Instead, Howard Hughes has contracted big-name architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz and James K.M. Cheng and paired them with local firms on Oahu, Benjamin Woo Architects and WCIT Architecture.

Randle said the pairings work because while the larger firms plan the overall grand vision of the buildings, the smaller firms are local and can handle the day-to-day issues that come up, such as making sure the buildings meet Hawaii building codes.

Despite the trend toward simplicity, many mega-rich buyers still want mega-amenities, and Kildow knows them well. He said the most over-the-top amenity he has seen is one homeowner who put in a $3 million kitchen.

Jeffrey Long, the founder of Honolulu architectural firm Long & Associates and known for his opulent homes, also has had some over-the-top requests.

“One homeowner requested that we design a Star Wars theater for his residence,” he said. “The result was spectacular, with a life-sized C-3PO and R2-D2 and blue LED lights. We also designed a home with an infinity pool on the upper level, right outside the living room, capturing the spectacular views.

Long said his firm also has had requests for water parks, indoor car displays and elevators that bring the cars up from the basement.

But one request really stands out.

“The craziest thing we [designed] for a client was a 20-person home bomb shelter,” he said.

Luxury homes on Oahu priced between $1M and $3M see strong Q3 sales

Luxury homes on Oahu priced between $1M and $3M see strong Q3 sales
Oahu’s luxury home market experienced strong sales of single-family homes priced between $1 million and $3 million.

Sales of homes priced $1 million to $2 million increased nearly 50 percent from July through September, compared to the third quarter of 2012. Year-to-date, 330 homes were sold in this price range through the end of September, which was nearly double the number sold in all of 2012, the report said.

Additionally, the number of homes priced between $2 million and $3 million sold during the quarter rose 33 percent compared to the same time period last year. Year-to-date sales in this price range were about 70 percent of 2012 sales.

Even some higher price ranges performed well, according to the report, which pointed out that the $5 million-and-above range saw sales rise 10 percent above 2012 levels.

Meantime, sales of condominiums in the $800,000 to $1 million range were 78 percent higher in the third quarter than during the same time period last year, and have already exceeded the number of sales in 2012 by 12 percent.

The number of condos sold for more than $1 million was 62 percent higher when comparing year-over-year totals, surpassing overall 2012 sales by 4 percent.

In terms of foreign real estate investment on Oahu so far this year, Japan remained in the top spot for both the $1 million to $2 million segment, and the $2 million-and-above price range with triple the number of homes sold as well as triple the dollar value of sales of other countries on the top four list combined, the report said.

Brazil made the list for the first time in the $1 million to $2 million category. In the $2 million-and-above segment, Hong Kong came in second with two homes sold and China joined the list for the first time since 2010.

“The second-home market on Oahu has returned, as evidenced by increased sales activity, particularly among single-family homes priced between $2 million and $3 million as well as the many new luxury condo units that are sold out,” Kahala Associates Broker-Owner Myra Brandt said in a statement. “We have seen stable demand and a declining inventory for single-family homes and condos, resulting in stiff competition and sometimes multiple offers. This puts pressure on home values, and it has been forecast that the median single-family home price is heading toward the $1 million range.”

But not all luxury market price ranges fared well in the third quarter, the number of sales in the $3 million to $5 million range declined by 10 percent, when comparing year-over-year numbers.


Luxury_Oahu_Estates_$2M -_$3M

Luxury_Oahu_Estates_$3M -_$4M

Luxury_Oahu_Estates_$4M -_$5M

Luxury_Oahu_Estates_$5M -_$6M

Luxury_Oahu_Estates_$6M -_$8M

Luxury_Oahu_Estates_$8M – 10M


Source: Kobayashi Group, MacNaughton Group to develop luxury condos in Kakaako

Sep 18, 2013, 2:50pm HST  |  Source: Kobayashi Group, MacNaughton Group to develop luxury condos in Kakaako

Duane Shimogawa  |  Reporter- Pacific Business News

MK Development — a joint venture of well-known Hawaii developers the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group — is purchasing six acres in Kakaako from Kamehameha Schools for an undisclosed price with plans to develop two luxury mixed-use residential projects totaling about 500 units along the mauka side of Ala Moana Boulevard, a source close to the situation tells Pacific Business News.

An Office Max store and the Cutter Mazda dealership are seen on Ala Moana Boulevard in Honolulu. The two blocks, owned by Kamehameha Schools, are to be developed by a joint venture of the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group into luxury condominium towers, a source tells Pacific Business News.

An Office Max store and the Cutter Mazda dealership are seen on Ala Moana Boulevard in Honolulu. The two blocks, owned by Kamehameha Schools, are to be developed by a joint venture of the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group into luxury condominium towers, a source tells Pacific Business News.

The projects are located on “Block H” and “Block I” within the Kamehameha Schools “Our Kakaako” master plan that proposes seven residential towers with 2,750 units and 300,000 square feet of commercial space on 29 acres on nine city blocks. The two parcels are bounded by Ala Moana to the south, Auahi Street to the north and Cooke Street to the west and stretches nearly to Ward Avenue to the east.

An official announcement about these projects, whose units will likely have sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, is expected soon.

Currently, a Cutter Mazda automobile dealership and service center as well as an Office Max are on located the two parcels, which are separated in the center by Koula Street.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority, which oversees the redevelopment of Kakaako, still needs to approve these projects, which expect to start the sales process in the fall of 2015.

Prices for the units have not been set, but the condominium towers are expected to have commercial tenants such as shops and restaurants on the ground floors, similar to the Hokua condominium, another one of MK Development’s projects, which has Tango Contemporary Cafe and Panya Bistro & Bakery.

MK Development is close to selecting an architect and design partners for the projects, which are expected to attract both the international and Hawaii markets, the source said.

The Honolulu-based development team, which was formed in 2001, is no stranger to developing luxury mixed-use condo projects. Besides Hokua, it has also developed Capitol Place in Downtown Honolulu and is in the process of building One Ala Moana atop Nordstrom’s parking garage at Ala Moana Center.

Representatives from MK Development could not immediately be reached for comment.

Kamehameha Schools, through a spokeswoman, previously told PBN in an email that it did not have any more information on the towers planned for the mauka land along Ala Moana Boulevard, other than that those blocks have been designated within its master plan for future luxury housing.

“They will complement other fee simple and rental projects in ‘Our Kakaako,’” she said.

These newest condo plans are among at least 15 condo projects that include the more than 4,000 units planned for the so called “Third City” of Kakaako, which includes for-sale and rental options.