There have been a lot of negative comments here about billionaires including Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg staking big and expanding real estate claims here in Hawaii. As you know, Bezos has Maui, for Zuckerberg, it’s Kauai, and Ellison has Lanai. So here’s the latest that they’re doing to ingratiate themselves to Hawaii and why.
Bezos’s acquisitions continue on Maui.
As you know, Bezos recently acquired a prized oceanfront estate consisting of 14-acres on Maui at La Perouse Bay, south of Wailea.
He is said to be shopping for yet more real estate on the Valley Isle, including a home for his parents at their fav Montage Kapalua Bay, about an hour’s drive away from his current La Perouse Bay digs.
How Bezos is helping Maui.
Jeff Bezos’ Day One Families Fund has provided a $2.5M grant to the Family Life Center; a nonprofit focused on homelessness on Maui, as well as Molokai and Kauai. This second round doubled last year’s $1.25M donation from Bezos.
Bezos’ fund provides annual awards to groups doing important work in homelessness. This year the fund donated $96M, of which the Maui foundation received about 3%. Will that increase over time? We can’t say. The fund plans to donate $2B to fund nonprofit organizations worldwide focused on the homeless and to create a network of preschools for low-income communities.
Oprah’s land-hunt on Maui.
Sometimes referred to as Maui’s queen, Oprah may be the largest landowner on the island at this point with thousands of acres. Word recently that billionaire Oprah Winfrey is pursuing more Maui real estate, and she has just acquired a 3-acre upcountry Kula property adjacent to her other real estate there.
The latest purchase was a relatively modest $7 million deal for the agricultural property, including a building. That in spite of it having an assessed value of less than $.5 million.
Oprah has been poised on Maui, as a part-time resident, for nearly two decades.
How Oprah is helping Maui.
Her charitable foundation just provided a $100,000 grant to the Women’s Fund of Hawaii.
Zuckerberg on Kauai.
Recently, the controversial Facebook founder purchased 600 more acres on Kauai, bringing his island empire to a massive 1,300 acres.
Zuckerberg’s previous Kauai buy was a whopping 700 acres with access to the white sanded Pilaa Beach, including an organic farm, sugar plantation, and more.
How Zuckerberg is helping Kauai.
Recently, Zuckerberg provided over $4M to help Kauai. In addition, this week, he acquired the largest fishpond on Kauai for another $4 Million donation.
The 600-year-old Menehune (Alakoko) fish pond nearby Lihue Airport consists of over 100 acres. It has been for sale for years prior to this at various amounts up to $12 million and was recently listed at $3 million. Zuckerberg stepped in via a 4M donation to the Trust For Public Land to help acquire the fish pond to preserve it culturally and environmentally.
Ellison on Lanai.
Oracle founder Larry Ellison took it to the next level when he bought the island of Lanai and moved full-time to Hawaii last year. He acquired 98% of Lanai for a mere $300 million back in 2012. Ellison joins the secluded and beautiful 140 square mile island’s other 3,000 residents. He decided to move to the island during COVID.
His ownership includes the island’s two Four Seasons managed resorts. The latest is the small Sensei luxury spa hotel that incorporates fine dining and art, medical evaluation, and adventure camp too, starting at a mere $800 per day. “Beginning with a complimentary, semi-private flight from Honolulu, every stay includes luxurious accommodations and a rotating collection of daily activities such as yoga, meditation, hiking, and lectures. Here, best-in-class wellness practitioners turn to innovative technology and heartfelt intention to enhance your wellbeing.”
How Ellison is helping Lanai.
We were unable to find anything about his charitable interests on the island. He does, however, serve as essentially the only employer on Lanai.
What’s your take: Is Hawaii benefiting from these billionaires who live full or part-time in the islands?