A Developing Situation

Hawaii has never seen a luxury project like the Watermark, says Keith Fernandez, starting with new technology that does not require those noisy piledrivers

Susan Sunderland
Wednesday - October 19, 2005
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
E-mail this story | Print this page | Archive | RSS | Del.icio.us

Keith Fernandez is a sample Watermark kitchen: 'We've learned a lot about living amenities'
Keith Fernandez is a sample Watermark
kitchen: ‘We’ve learned a lot about
living amenities’

There’s an ongoing debate about expatriates who return home to reestablish ties and bring newfound expertise to the islands. Can they make the transition once they’ve experienced life in the fast lane of an outside community? Does Hawaii become too provincial or insular for their broader view of the world? Or, do Hawaiian values and island perspectives follow them wherever they go?

We put those questions to Keith Fernandez, 53, president of Intracorp San Diego/Hawaii, developer of the new Watermark condominium in Waikiki. Haven’t heard of him? Well, read on, because he and his company will likely have a significant impact on residential development in our community.

First some background. Fernandez is a local boy, one of four children born to Charles and Ellen Fernandez. He attended Punahou School (class of 1970) on a sports scholarship and was lineman on the Buffanblu football team under legendary coaches Dave Eldredge and Charles Ane. His aunty is the late Billie Beamer, former director of Hawaiian Home Lands and 1990 GOP lieutenant governor nominee.

He says he’s “a hair under half-Hawaiian,” with the other half being Chinese, English, Portuguese ethnicity. Fernandez came from a modest family with a hard-working dad who wanted the best education for his kids.

“My peers came from affluent families,” Fernandez says. “Dad drove a green Plymouth Satellite with frayed upholstery, and I was embarrassed to be dropped off at school. I had to deal with the social and economic differences, but it motivated me a lot,”

Punahou provided a firm foundation of scholarly values and character-building that he credits for personal success. “I have fond memories of Punahou,” he says. “I had great teachers, coaches and traditions that gave me confidence to excel.”

Fernandez got a business degree from the University of Colorado and became a stockbroker in San Francisco. After oneand-a-half years, he returned to Honolulu and applied to UH graduate school.

About that time, Bishop Estate was forming Helumoa Land Co. to develop the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. They were looking for a college graduate to help with construction coordination and tenant leasing. Bishop Estate’s Dick Wong, Louis Kau and others mentored Fernandez in the real estate development process.

“This is exciting,” Fernandez thought and got immersed in the business that would become his future. He finished graduate studies and got an MBA at the University of San Francisco.

In San Francisco, Fernandez was introduced to the head of real estate at Transamerica, a financial company with a then-diverse portfolio including Budget Rent a Car, Trans International Airlines, and United Artists. From the 17th floor of the landmark Transamerica pyramid on Montgomery Street, he managed real estate projects in Chicago, New York, California and Detroit.

In the mid-‘80s during California’s real estate boom, Fernandez become a partner in a joint venture that developed sub-

Page 1 of 2 pages for this story  1 2 >

E-mail this story | Print this page | Comments (0) | Archive | RSS

Most Recent Comment(s):

Posting a comment on MidWeek.com requires a free registration.



Auto Login

Forgot Password

Sign Up for MidWeek newsletter Times Supermarket



Hawaii Luxury

Tiare Asia and Alex Bing
were spotted at the Sugar Ray's Bar Lounge