Hawaiian island up for sale

Lanai, one of Hawaii's main eight islands, is up for sale.
Lanai, one of Hawaii's main eight islands, is up for sale.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lanai, one of Hawaii's main eight islands, is on the market.  It has been up for sale since late last year according to State Senator Kalani English who represents island that is nine miles from Maui.  So far there aren't any confirmed buyers but there are a whole lot of rumors.

There are 47 miles of coastline, 30 miles of paved roads and no traffic lights on Lanai and it could all be yours for the right price.

"It is a major trophy for billionaires to say I own one of the eight major Hawaiian Islands," said State Senator Kalani English, (D) Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, who roughly estimated the sale price at $600 million.

"There really is only a certain amount of people that can take a look at buying an island in Hawaii today. And it has to be the billionaires really."

Billionaire David Murdock, 89, is selling the island after owning more than 97 percent of it since 1985.  He's reportedly losing between $18 to 25 million each year on the island.

"In his way he was really trying to take care of the island. He maintained the hotels at a loss. He maintained the golf courses at a loss. He maintained other businesses at a loss. I think we have to be prepared if a new owner wants to come in they may want to cut those losses which means different types of businesses," said Sen. English.

There have been plenty of rumors including high tech billionaires Bill Gates and Larry Ellison as potential buyers. Jimmy Buffett's name has been thrown around as well.

"We're pretty high on rumors and pretty low on facts here," said Dorothy Lester, Co-Pastor, Lanai Union Church. "There are a mixture of feelings among people who are here.  There are people who have been waiting for the time when there would be a new owner of the island. There are those who are very anxious because David Murdock is the only person they remember who has been in control."

The island had about 3,500 people last census but now Sen. English says the population is down to about 1,900 and they are wondering what's past the horizon.

"Yes there are a lot of concerns but we at the same time we feel this is a beautiful island and somehow it will get worked out," said Dalila Stuck, Lanai Resident.

Senator English says various people and organizations have been sent out to the island representing potential buyers.  He also says predicting the sale is tough.  It could be days or several months.

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