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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. what about the public beach right next to it? That’s one of the most popular local beaches along with the lagoon?

    1. I was wondering the same thing. That’s a great beach. I didn’t realize we were so close to the estate when we stopped there.

  2. I have been driving past this property a handful of times every week, for years. I believe most everyone knew this was happening when former President Obama’s close connection was said to be the new owner, in 2015. Doesn’t look like anything from the original Magnum PI estate is left. Pillars for the foundation are poured and it looks like it will be a very large beachfront estate, and I am happy for them. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu, IMO.

  3. we come to hawaii every year and ride by this place just to see a glimpse of magnums house went by in feb of this year and saw it was leveled wont bother to waste the gas to go by anymore should have been left as a tribute to magnums show

  4. Nice for Obama. Sadly, he turned out to be just another aloof, out-of-touch politician who got elected on promises, kept very few of them, and rode off into the sunset to enjoy his millions of $$. Basically a decent guy? Probably. But still another member of the entitled elite.

    1. Mr. “Life-on-the-Cuff”! Tony Rezko Rental in Chicago, the White House, Oahu and Martha’s Annually on the cuff, with entourage, now living large!

  5. Thank you for the update.
    You said much of it has been leveled. Does that mean all the main house or just the outbuildings? Is a new home being built yet?
    I hope you will keep us posted.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Nancy.

      That’s all we know at the moment. We’ll get over there and let you know more as soon as we can travel. 🙂


  6. I guess I can still be surprised…it makes me sad that even in these times when we can see how fragile life is and the importance of kindness to one another, that some feel compelled to put such negativity and hate out into the world.

    This family has deep ties to and love for Hawaii (and definitely vice versa.) I think that if they have as much right as any of us to the Aloha and joy and especially the community that Barack’s grandparents raised him in. I know personally that when you are born and raised in the islands, no matter where you may end up living and working Hawaii is always the home of your heart, and you pass that love and respect on to your kids as well.

    1. As a Kama’aina I can see no reason to say Obama should not come back to Hawaii. Ignoring the politics, I would have seen more merit to this if he had given Honolulu the benefit of a Presidential Library but I guess Chicago is where his real heart lies.

    2. I agree with everything you said, Carolyn!
      I can’t imagine that the Obamas would not be wonderful stewards to the property and a great asset to the community!

    3. These are experienced Mount Olympus caliber politicians. Accordingly, until one has eaten or spent what they offer, one would do well to not truly believe it to be theirs.

      “Il ne faut pas toucher aux idoles: la dorure en reste aux mains.”
      “(Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers.)”
      ― Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

    4. Obama didn’t really have all that great an attachment to Hawai’i until he became President. Chicago was his home, remember? After he was elected, though, and had free trips to Hawai’i on Air Force One, he came to Hawai’i all the time for vacations, with his entourage of servants and Secret Service agents, who had to stay in Waikiki, and drive over to Kailua for their shifts. Nah, that didn’t cost the taxpayers much. Funny how that works.

      1. Obama grew up in Oahu and went to school there up until High School. His mother lived there until she passed away and his sister still lives in Oahu. Why don’t you not know this?

        1. Yes, he was raised there.

          The interesting thing to me – a visitor to Hawaii since 1965 – people are always complaining about Oahu traffic and parking, especially Waikiki/Honolulu traffic. Thankfully, Oahu won’t be his full-time residence and traffic/parking will only be murder some of the time.

        2. SV,I did know this, and that he went to Punahou, but after he left for college, Hawai’i wasn’t really his home anymore.

  7. Never missed the old Magnum. Tried watching the new, but it does not capture my interest like the original. Maybe if I wasn’t such a fan, it would .
    Now Hawaii 50, because it’s the next generation, I enjoy watching it.

  8. Hi DeeDee.

    Suggest you wait a few weeks until we get clarity on the ending of the 14-day isolation, then hear from the airlines. You’ll get there with either one, we just don’t have any clarity yet on routing and schedules.



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