Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg buys 600 more acres on Kauai

Pacific Business News
By Janis L. Magin – Senior Editor

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have acquired nearly 600 more acres of land on Kauai for $53 million from a nonprofit established by a local family whose roots go back to the days of the Hawaiian kingdom, bringing the Facebook CEO’s land holdings in Hawaii to more than 1,300 acres.

Chan and Zuckerberg closed on the purchase of three parcels totaling 595.4 acres, including land fronting Larsen’s Beach, on March 19, according to the deeds filed with the state Bureau of Conveyances. The transaction didn’t include the beach access road, which is owned by the county and remains open to the public.

The couple said in a statement that they plan to continue the work the seller, Waioli Corp., has done to conserve the land known as Lepeuli, while also keeping the lease with the current tenant, Paradise Ranch.

“Waioli does essential work promoting conservation and cultural preservation and we are mindful of their legacy with regard to this land,” Chan and Zuckerberg said. “We are committed to honoring the current ranching lease to Paradise Ranch and extending the existing agricultural dedication.

“We have been working closely with a number of community partners to promote conservation, produce sustainable agriculture and protect native wildlife at our ranch and in the surrounding areas and look forward to extending that effort to Lepeuli in the months ahead.”

Chan and Zuckerberg — who is the fifth-richest person in the world with a net worth of more than $110 billion, according to Forbes — bought the land through a limited liability company registered in Delaware whose member is San Francisco-based Square Seven Management LLC, according to the deeds filed with the Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances. Square Seven is managed by wealth manager Iconiq Capital LLC, whose clients include Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg began amassing the Kauai estate in September 2014 when he bought the 357-acre Kahuaina Plantation from California investment firm Falko Partners and then bought 384 acres from the late Hawaii auto dealer James Pflueger and added more in 2018 for a total of nearly 750 acres. His entities also acquired titles to dozens of smaller lots within the larger parcels that were known as kuleana lands.

Four of the kuleana parcels were conveyed to Carlos Andrade and his wife, Ivy, in July 2019 after a public auction that drew bids from other family members of the parcels’ original owner, Manuel Rapozo. The rest are now owned by Zuckerberg entities.

Chan and Zuckerberg have been building a number of residential and agricultural structures on the properties, which are being used for ranching. According to building permits that total more than $83 million, the largest was a 2018 permit application for a 57,059-square-foot single-family residence with a connected accessory building/dwelling with a total of eight bedrooms, nine full baths and 16 half baths, according to permit filings with the Kauai County Building Division.

The latest acquisition includes a 561.34-acre parcel of land stretching from the ocean to Kuhio Highway, a 1.8-acre parcel on the ocean and a 34.26 parcel on the mauka side of Kuhio Highway for a total of 595.4 acres.

The seller, Waioli Corp., is a nonprofit organization established by members of the kamaaina Wilcox family, who are descended from missionary schoolteachers Abner and Lucy Wilcox.

“The decision provides Waioli with the financial ability to be able to continue our critical conservation and historical work and ensure that Kauai’s cultural history continues to be shared in the community for years to come,” Waipoli Corp. President Sam Pratt said in a statement.

Pratt said the organization chose Chan and Zuckerberg after seeing their “dedication over the years to land conservation, protecting native species and working to preserve the natural beauty of Kauai.”

“We know that this land will remain in their trusted hands and that Mark and Priscilla will act as responsible stewards of Lepeuli today and in the future,” he said.

Hawaii Pacific Health’s Wilcox Medical Center, the largest hospital on Kauai, was named for George N. Wilcox, who bought Grove Farm Plantation in the 1860s. The beneficiaries of Waioli Corp. are descendants of his brothers and sisters.

Waioli Corp. operates the Waioli Mission House museum and the Mahamoku Beach Residence in Hanalei and the Grove Farm Homestead Museum in Lihue.

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