DiGeronimo Companies Selected to Develop Mixed-Use Center in Kona, Hawai'i


May 16, 2017

The Liliʻuokalani Trust (LT) today announced the selection of a developer for the transformation of 69 acres in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaiʻi into a vibrant hub of activity anchored by retail, entertainment, residential, hospitality uses and open space.

Following a thorough process that started in late 2016, Liliʻuokalani Trust has selected the partnership of DiGeronimo Companies, Fairmount Properties and Los Angeles-based JCI Development, Inc. (DFJ) to develop the Makalapua Project District. “We sought an organization that will help us create a long-term revenue stream to fulfill our commitment to improving the lives of Hawaiian children. In DFJ, we have not only found a highly capable developer but also an organization that shares our values,” said Robert H. Ozaki, President and CEO of the Trust.

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected by Liliʻuokalani Trust in its efforts to develop, enhance and refine such a strategic property. We understand the gravity and importance of the faith placed in us and are fully prepared to bring the Trust’s vision to reality,” said Emerick Corsi, Principal at Fairmount Properties. Kevin DiGeronimo, Principal at the DiGeronimo Companies, added, “We are committed to creating a plan with the Trust that puts the land first, provides jobs, and honors the cultural legacy of Kona.”

The Makalapua Project District, bordering the Kona Commons Shopping Center and Kailua Park (Old Airport Park), is in alignment with the Kona Community Development Plan and encourages safe and smart growth in the area. The mixed-use project includes 300 residential units, 220 hotel rooms split between two hotels, 470,000 square feet of commercial space and 50,000 square feet of civic uses.

Entitlements for the project providing flexibility in uses in order to match market needs and demands are expected to be completed this year. “The land of Keahuolū unites the Trust and Kona. Our futures are tied together. The revenue generated by this project will contribute to growth of the local economy and provide a long-term stable source of income for our charitable programs,” said LeeAnn Crabbe, Vice President of Liliʻuokalani Trust. 

Liliʻuokalani Trust and DFJ have started working together to refine the site plan, create the look and feel of the project, and identify key anchor tenants. “We applaud Liliʻuokalani Trust for their vision on this unprecedented development opportunity. We look forward to executing that vision and creating a world-class project celebrating Kona and the greater Hawaiian marketplace,” said Jeff Isenstadt, President of JCI Development.

Lili‘uokalani Trust owns approximately 6,400 acres of Hawai‘i real estate, the vast majority of it located on the Island of Hawai‘i. On Hawai‘i Island, properties include the nearly-intact 3,400-acre ahupua‘a of Keahuolū in Kona, and the 2,800-acre agricultural and conservation lands of Honohina on the windward side.

The Trust’s 700-acres of Kona commercial properties include the Kona Industrial Park and five shopping centers. The Kona Industrial Park consists of 77 acres and includes the leased-fee interests in 45 industrial lots and the fee-simple interests in the Kuakini Center and B&K Commercial Park. Lili‘uokalani Trust also owns the leased-fee interest in five shopping centers – Makalapua Shopping Center (202,902 s/f Gross Leasable Area), Kona Commons Shopping Center (144,116 s/f GLA), Kona Coast Shopping Center (84,111 s/f GLA), Ilima Court (38,700 s/f GLA), and Kona International Marketplace (34,551 s/f GLA).

About Liliʻuokalani Trust

Lili‘uokalani Trust was established by Hawaiʻi’s last ruling monarch, the beloved Queen Lili‘uokalani. Her Deed of Trust, executed in 1909, directs that the Queen’s lands be utilized to serve and provide for orphan and destitute children in perpetuity. The core Trust assets include some 6,400 acres of land.

 The vision of Liliʻuokalani Trust is e nā kamalei lupalupa, “Thriving Hawaiian Children.” Its mission: “We believe in the resiliency of our Hawaiian children; we advocate and work towards systemic change for their wellbeing and build them pathways to thriving lives.”  More information on the Trust and its activities can be found at www.onipaa.org.

About DFJ

DFJ is a formalized partnership, building upon decades of business and personal relationships between the three organizations: DiGeronimo Companies, Fairmount Properties, and JCI Development.  Our partner companies are well-respected industry leaders in mixed-use real estate development as well as the construction industry throughout the U.S.  More information on our companies is available at our websites – www.digeronimocompanies.com; www.fairmountproperties.com; www.jcidevelopment.com.

For more information on the Makalapua Project District, please contact:

Lili’uokalani Trust (for project info)

Michael Shibata

Director, Real Estate

(808) 203-6150


DFJ (for leasing/project info)

Emerick Corsi


(216) 514-8700


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