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Magnum PI Robin’s Nest Now Controversial Obama House Hawaii

The Obamas were recently in Hawaii to check on the well-underway construction at their new multimillion-dollar Hawaii mansion near Honolulu, together with its seawall that is causing so much controversy. Nearby neighbors in the Waimanalo community are concerned that it will further erode the fragile beachline fronting the stunning turquoise ocean.

As you may recall, the property was purchased by close friend Marty Nesbitt, in 2015 for a cost of just under $9 million. Previously it was also the home where the Magnum PI mansion was located, nearby Waimanalo Beach. It was torn down as a result of disrepair in 2018.

Three homes are in construction at present on the beachfront compound, which includes two swimming pools and a security fence. The property sits nestled nearby the Koolau Mountains with a spectacular view of Waimanalo Bay.

Former President Barack Obama became known for spending Christmas holidays on Oahu, in a rented home at Kailua Bay, near Kailua Beach, during his presidency. In recent years, they have come to spend yet more time in Hawaii.

Controversial sea wall.

More recently, it came to public awareness that a plan was underway to retain a 100-year old sea wall on the beach at Obama’s coastal estate. That however was not in the interest of environmentalists and neighbors due to beach erosion. The issue is that the sea wall can further contribute to the beach’s erosion by impacting the natural flow of the ocean.

An apparent loophole in the law permitted the 2015 sellers of the massive compound to obtain an easement on public land for a one-time payment of $61K, just before it was sold. They asked officials for a 55-year lease of the public property underneath the century-old sea wall, which in turn gave the new property owners, the Obamas, the right to keep the concrete structure in place. That led to the building permits that are resulting in the current construction. While more than 100 such easements were created in the past two decades, they are nonetheless controversial, according to environmental experts, and are a primary cause of beach loss. Many consider such easements to be a planning loophole by the county in terms of environmental sustainability.

It appears that at one time, it was believed that these structures were a well-intended way to preserve coastal properties and were not the main cause of beach loss. Now, however, it has become clear that in fact they are contraindicated in relation to preserving Hawaii’s natural coastlines. Such structures do not protect the shoreline, however, and in fact directly result in existing beach loss by interrupting the ocean’s natural flow, according to scientists. These are at odds with modern laws.

As a result, the beach fronting Obama’s property is virtually devoid of sand due to the coastal damage.

Marty Nesbitt, who is now chair of the Obama Foundation board, addressed the issue of the sea wall being the main case of beach loss, saying “it was consistent with and informed by the analysis of our consultants, and the laws, regulations, and perspectives of the State of Hawaii.

See YouTube video of the spectacular location prior to the construction.

See Google map of location below:


The former historic Robin’s Nest mansion will have a whole new look.

Before Rob moved to Hawaii, his weekly dose of Aloha in the 1980s was watching Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I. Rob wanted that life here in the islands, wearing the famous Aloha Shirt as Magnum did, and living in that 9,000 sq. ft. oceanfront home. When Rob drove by its location at Waimanalo, he would always try to take a peek. Now the home that served as the fictional “Robin’s Nest,” is back in the news again as it gets a presidential makeover.


The original 8,500 square foot home on three acres of oceanfront land, was built in 1933 and the sellers of the property received $8.7 million for it in 2015. Up until 2015, any residence over 50 years old needed a historical review before it could be demolished. That’s no longer the case unless it is on the national historical register or in a historic district.

Updated 3/8/22.

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125 thoughts on “Magnum PI Robin’s Nest Now Controversial Obama House Hawaii”

  1. I think that is awesome that President Obama May be moving there. I would love to have him and his family live in my community.
    Thanks for this interesting article. I hope you can update us!

  2. Sorry to sound even 10% “political” on this great website — even tho’ it’s happened w/ others comments all too many times …

    I have “personal knowledge” of this property. I seriously considered buying it in the early 2000’s. Some of my “inside” information comes from the MAGNUM PI TV series and the folks involved … and some comes from other, local sources.

    This would be a sorry, sorry development were it to become a reality.

    Just one 1950s-present day Kamaʻāina’s appreciation of the Aloha State.

  3. IMO Rebecca I would more be concerned with the legions of secret service, staff, airport disruption, traffic and other issues that follow an ex-president and family. I’m sure local police protection would also pose an additional cost to the residents. He grew up in, and vacationed for several years near Honolulu and probably has as much right to live or vacation where ever he chooses.

    1. Ruined what? The Magnum PI house? Waimanalo? (Be sure to listen to Waimanalo Blues, written by Arlo Guthrie.) O’ahu? The Hawaiian Islands?
      We all hate to see historic buildings demolished, but let’s face it – before that one was built there was something else there. At some point it was unspoiled nature.

  4. The nepotism of DC and people of power is truly saddening and the real story. It’s too bad that a “regular joe” would never be afforded the opportunity.

    1. Where’s the nepotism? Obama didn’t inherit the house. He didn’t get his office – or the house – due to family connections. He didn’t/doesn’t have any high-level family connections. There is absolutely no nepotism involved.

  5. Aloha!

    Having grown up on Oahu during the filming of both Hawaii Five-O and Magnum (got to meet Jack Lord near the Ilikai), I much prefer HFO. Jack Lord insisted on using as many locals as possible (in front of and behind the cameras), while Magnum’s production was the exact opposite. HFO did more for tourism to Hawaii than anything else in history, and Jack Lord is still revered and beloved to this day by the locals. He was the first haole to be given the honor of being named grand marshal of the Pa’u Riders in the Aloha Day Parade, and he gave millions to worthy local causes (his entire sizeable estate went to various Hawaiian charities after his wife Marie passed away). Have you seen his statue at the Kahala Mall? People still come from around the world to take pictures with it.

    Regarding your article, do you know if the neighbors who signed NDAs were compensated in any way?

    I did enjoy the camaraderie and humor of the original Magnum, and have not seen the new one – the previews did not appeal to me.


  6. very interesting. I heard about it about the time the transaction took place and I cannot remember who told me but I knew where. this is so cool. yay for him ad his family. ps. keep up the good work with all hat you do.

  7. Aloha, old/new, evolution of time, while stationed at FOCCPAC, KUNIA/WHEELER,HAWAII, 1971-73. I enjoyed the original cast and their acting swagger. The new cast has a high quality of talent also. Love & Miss the Islands, I want to return to my new season of HAWAII/JIM. HAWAII IS #1. Mahalo, Jim Amell

    1. He was born and raised in Hawaii therefore I am sure that God’s gonna approve and grant him that property! Welcome Back Home President Obama & family!

    2. I wish you would have hoped ‘God’ used his powers to eradicate this rather than allow you to use this forum as a vehicle for your asinine political views.

    3. Natural disasters usually take care of poor planning and ignorance. That’s called natural consequences. Some may call it karma. Call it what you will.


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