| MOVING FORWARD
Mitch Match D’Olier well suited for new role with Kaneohe Ranch. By Powell Berger Talk with Mitch D’Olier and three things are immediately clear. One, the man doesn’t have an “off ” switch; two, dialogue is his secret weapon; and three, he knows how to get things done. D’Olier is finally taking a few moments
to reflect, having just completed the transaction selling Kaneohe Ranch’s Kailua portfolio to Alexander & Baldwin for a tidy $373 million, then stepping down from his perch as president and CEO of Kaneohe Ranch, assuming instead a more “part time” role as chairman of Kaneohe Ranch and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. D’Olier’s imprint on Hawaii’s business and development world spans 40 years, first as a young attorney with Goodsill Anderson, then as develop-
ment guru where he cut his teeth on the Kakaako Ward project and finally in Kailua, where he spent the last dozen years redefining community in this quirky windward town. When taking on the Kailua project in 2002, D’Olier and his wife, Bambi, briefly considered moving from their east Honolulu home to Kailua. “We were looking at this terrific home on Dune Circle,” Mitch recalls, “when the next door neighbor walked out to say hello.” It was Don Bremner, a longtime anti-development activist specifically focused on Kakaako and Kailua. “Thank goodness he was home that day!” Mitch and Bambi stayed put, while Mitch took ribbing from Kailua’s anti-development community that he needed a work permit to commute back and forth every day.
“I love the passion of the Kailua people,” D’Olier says. “Opposition is good. I set out to prove we can have civil dialogue in our community, we can listen to each other and learn from each other.” His Kailua development hinged on a community-based planning process, with six town-hall type meetings over 18 months. “We got to know our customers, our neighbors,” he recalls. “They told us they wanted to shop here; they wanted a pedestrian-friendly community and they wanted it to reflect Hawaii.” Those standards became the foundation on which today’s Kailua is built. The new Whole Foods has become a gathering spot for Kailuans, nestled in 8
“Opposition is good. I set out to prove we can have civil dialogue in our community, we can listen to each other and learn from each other.”
InsideOutHawaii.com FEBRUARY 2014
1/13/14 10:22:09 AM