Manengon land for sale
Texas A&M to sell 1,146-acre property for $25 million
By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno
Pacific Daily News
One piece of Guam real estate, which constitutes about 1.7 percent of the entire island's civilian land inventory, is for sale.
The 1,146-acre property was a part of a much bigger property that the late businessman Harold Dwight Look owned on the hills and valleys of Manengon.
Look once owned almost 8,000 acres of land in Manengon, according to Guam court documents.
An Army veteran of World War II who served in the Pacific Theater, Look lived on Guam for about 40 years, according to his alma mater, Texas A&M University.
Look donated the 1,146-acre lot to the university in 1992, and at the time, it was the single largest gift to the university, according to Texas A&M.
The university's College of Engineering has since been named the Dwight Look College of Engineering, which today has an enrollment of close to 9,000 future engineers in a variety of fields -- from computer to oil drilling to space engineering, according to the university.
Look was 80 when he died in 2002 in his home state of Texas, according to the university.
Price tag: $25 million
The Texas A&M Foundation is selling the 1,146-acre property for a $25 million asking price, according to the seller's representatives.
The seller is being represented by CB Richard Ellis, a Los Angeles-based real estate services company, and Guam-based Captain Realty Advisors.
The property was valued at $52 million at the time Look donated it to the university, according to Texas A&M's Web site.
Guam's property values were priced much higher when Look made the donation to Texas A&M because of the island's real estate boom at the time, said Nick Captain, president of Captain Realty Advisors.
Between the 1980s and early 1990s, Japanese investors fueled a real estate boom on Guam with land purchases geared toward resort and hotel developments.
But when the Japanese economy soured, along with the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s, Guam's real estate market took a nosedive.
Guam's real estate market in the past three years has shown new signs of another boom, but this time more conservative.
Experts at a recent regional real estate conference on Guam have said that recent commercial property deals on Guam were still priced about half of the going price during the 1980s to early 1990s peak.
The multibillion-dollar military buildup being planned on Guam starting in about two years has boosted the housing market on island.
During the past three years, the median price of single-family homes on Guam has increased 18.7 percent, on average, per year, according to CB Richard Ellis.
The 1,146-acre property "is the biggest property that's got near-term development potential" listed for sale on Guam in almost a decade, said Nick Captain, president of Captain Realty Advisors, who's been keeping track of real estate transactions locally for years.
The property is vast enough for a variety of uses, and its near-term potential includes residential subdivision developments, Captain said.
The property has access along both sides of the road to LeoPalace Resort.
Look once owned more than 7,900 acres of real property in the Manengon area, according to Guam Supreme Court documents concerning a smaller, 120-acre property Look owned.
Miyama Development, the company that developed the Manengon Hills area where LeoPalace now stands, had purchased about 5.5 million square meters of land that once belonged to Look, Captain said.
The government of Guam also is a beneficiary of a land donation from Look.
In 1998, Look donated to the local government more than 100,000 square meters of Manengon Hills land, which was a concentration camp for thousands of Chamorros during the Japanese occupation in World War II, according to Guam legislative records.
Look made the donation so that the site can be developed into a memorial for those who suffered and died in the concentration camp.
In 2001, GovGuam granted the nonprofit Manenggon Memorial Foundation a $1-a-year lease on the 100,000 square meters for the construction of the memorial, according to Guam law.