When Leases End, Lessors Could Gain From Rail

Editor's Note: This article is part of a series exploring land ownership near Honolulu's proposed 20-mile elevated rail line. The data for the series was produced for Civil Beat by Hawaii Information Service, a public records and real estate data firm.

Last week, Civil Beat explained that the list of "landowners" that served as the basis for stories about potential future development around the proposed Honolulu rail system included both traditional "fee simple" owners as well as property lessees, or leasehold owners.

The last piece of the puzzle is land lessors, the underlying owners of leased land. The length and terms of each lease determines how each entity stands to benefit.

If the lease is decades long, then the lessee's future control over the land is valuable. But in the event of a short lease — some could even be month-to-month — then the underlying owner is the party that could make a lot of money by selling or developing the land.

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