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2011 Kukulu Hale Awards—Building Community, Building Excellence

Recognizing excellence in Hawaii's commercial real estate industry

(page 3 of 7)

Lifetime Achievement—Holo Pono Award

Herbert K. Horita


When Herbert was 11, his father was sent to internment camp for one year, during which time the young boy helped his mother sell Christmas products in order to keep food on the table. Upon returning home, Herbert’s father rebuilt his contracting business and taught the family a valuable life lesson: never give up.

After graduating from Farrington High School, Herbert attended the University of Hawaii, and then transferred to Honolulu Business School. Growing up, Herbert’s childhood toys were lumber and machinery, but it was his interest in architectural design that would most influence his eventual career path. He joined his father’s company in 1952, working in construction while keeping an eye towards real estate.

Herbert sold his first house for S. Horita Construction in 1957, and then began selling his father’s design-build homes, generating income that would finance future development projects. When Herbert K. Horita Realty Inc. hung its shingle outside a small Kalihi office in 1959, the young entrepreneur seized the opportunity to purchase land from developer Joe Pao and invested the funds he had saved to purchase additional tracts for Horita Homes. He built his first residential development, Bishop Manoa with 32 single family homes, in 1963.

By the end of 1965, Horita Realty had built 477 single family homes, and a new development division was formed to design and build residential projects.

A Visionary Pioneer

Herbert found great joy in building homes and communities, and he opened the doors of home ownership for many young families by creating a vertical integration system for complete custom home packages. Forming relationships with the Veterans Administration for financing and with friends who owned such businesses as appliance, furniture and carpeting companies, Herbert was able to offer ‘one stop shop’ convenience for his customers.

Known as a ‘visionary pioneer’ who loved to dream big, Herbert led his company in the development of such residential neighborhoods as Waialae Nui Ridge, Waialae Iki, Hawaii Kai, Salt Lake, Nuuanu, Kaneohe, Moanalua Gardens and Ka Ono Ulu Estates in Kihei. He created master-planned communities such as Newtown Estates, Royal Kunia Village Park and Ko Olina Resort.

Herbert Horita (second from right in group of observers) and his father Shigeru Horita (closest to the camera) at the groundbreaking for the Aloha Surf Hotel
While continuing to address the needs of Hawaii’s growing population of homebuyers through integrated, master-planned communities, Herbert forged into commercial development, building the Aloha Surf Hotel in 1967 and the 40-story luxury Waikiki Beach Tower condominium in 1984. Condominiums in Pearl City, golf courses in Ewa and Royal Kunia, and dozens of other commercial projects also carry the Horita banner.

Over his 50-year career, Herbert became one of Hawaii’s largest local developers. He developed and sold more than 13,500 single-family homes, town homes and condominium units; 500 hotel units; 336,000 square feet of commercial space; and 240 acres of industrial land. Horita’s greatest achievement was the realization of his personal vision of Ko Olina Resort.

The influential businessman mentored hundreds of real estate professionals in Hawaii, helping to launch well over a thousand careers in real estate, sales and development. The company he built also has provided a springboard for dozens of other local real estate companies. And the construction of Horita’s many developments generated billions of dollars in sales and created thousands of jobs across the state.

Herbert Horita with son Keith at the grand opening of The Fairways, Ko Olina Resort’s first residential community
Today, Herbert K. Horita Realty, Inc. has grown into a company with a multi-lingual staff of more than 50 real estate professionals serving international clients as well as Hawaii home buyers and sellers. Committed to remaining a local and privately owned company, Horita Realty is led by Herbert’s son, Joshua, who carries on the extraordinary legacy built by his late father.

“We are proud of the heritage built by our founder, it has made us who we are and guides us to what we can become,” Joshua Horita said. “Along with this legacy comes an awesome responsibility to carry it upward and forward. Horita Realty is committed to driving the excellence of our past into the growth of our future.”

NAIOP Hawaii is proud to present its 2011 Outstanding Service Award posthumously to Herbert K. Horita, whose visionary leadership helped to shape the growth and development of Hawaii for generations.


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