Businessman's Plans Upset His Kahala Neighbors - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Businessman's Plans Upset His Kahala Neighbors

Gensiro Kawamoto Gensiro Kawamoto
Kelley Roberson Kelley Roberson
Richard Turbin Richard Turbin
Privacy walls have been demolished Privacy walls have been demolished
KHNL News 8's Beth Hillyer sits atop a former swimming pool that has been filled with rocks KHNL News 8's Beth Hillyer sits atop a former swimming pool that has been filled with rocks

By Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - Some Kahala neighbors are up in arms.  A group of residents are upset with a wealthy Japanese real estate investor.

The neighborhood board is going to form a task force to investigate what action can be taken against the Japanese real estate tycoon who bought up some 20 Kahala homes.

It's not hard to spot a home owned by Gensiro Kawamoto.

Privacy walls have been removed and you can see all the way to the back yard.

Neighbor David Gray describes his first impression.

"The walls down and the swimming pools filled in, kinda a shock definitely a shock," he said.

Kawamoto owns many vacant homes along the upscale Kahala Avenue and his plans are to rent them out to low income families.

Kahala Neighborhood Board member Richard Turbin.

"I feel the way Mr. Kawamoto has torn down some of the walls, dumped rocks, filled up swimming pools, he's created a dangerous situation for neighbors," Turbin said.

Gensiro Kawamoto is a 74-year-old real estate tycoon from Japan.

He says he wants to give the neighborhood a more Hawaiian feel.

Board member Kelly Roberson questions his intentions.

"He has invested in a lot of property and is going to represent some kind of change in Kahala and that is the purpose of the neighborhood board system to give citizens residents the opportunity to air these things," Roberson told us.

Some board members like Turbin want to stop the destruction.

"I've received a lot of complaints, telephone calls," said Turbin.  "We want Mr. Kawamoto to be a good neighbor to fix his property up, not tear it down. Kind of maintain esthetic standards to just like any neighborhood would. "

His yards and trees are not maintained.

Turbin is puzzled.

"It's difficult to understand why he would take a beautiful home and start tearing down walls and put a property in disarray," he said.

All of the homes KHNL looked at were vacant and there's no sign he'll be renting them out soon.

We did not hear back from Mr. Kawamoto's attorney Thursday night about the community concerns.

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