Thursday, February 9, 2006
Alfred Brophy sent along a pointer to an article in the Hawaii Advertiser about the impact of Del Monte pulling out of the Hawaii pineapple market. To me, the most interesting thing about the story is the suggestion that pineapple workers might be able to buy for a below-market price the homes they have been renting from Del Monte:
If developer Peter Savio's idea becomes reality, pineapple workers who live in plantation housing at Kunia Camp will not be thrown into O'ahu's pricey real estate market when Del Monte Fresh Produce pulls out of the Islands.
Savio has been working for the past year to allow other Del Monte workers to buy 63 plantation homes at nearby Poamoho Camp at about one-third market price. Yesterday, Savio said he is putting together a nearly identical plan for the Del Monte workers at Kunia Camp in Central O'ahu who would otherwise likely lose their homes along with their jobs.
Del Monte workers who live in Kunia Camp's 70 to 90 plantation homes pay $200 to $300 in monthly rent, Savio said.
He estimated the homes are worth $150,000 to $200,000. According to Savio's plan, Del Monte pineapple workers would be able to buy the homes and land for $50,000, with no money down.
As Brophy noted, this scenario raises some issues that come up in the first year Property course. To me, the efforts to allow the workers to stay in their homes bring to mind both Radin's personhood theory and Singer's reliance theory. But what is particularly interesting to me is that it seems that a potential developer, rather than the former employer/landlord Del Monte, is making the effort to allow people to stay in their homes. Assuming that the developer is a rational economic actor, I'd guess that he must see a benefit in allowing the workers to buy their homes at such dramatically below-market prices. Perhaps this benefit would be in the form of goodwill that would reduce local community and regulatory opposition to his development plan. This in turn makes me wonder whether a similar dynamic is present in condo-conversion situations.
As always, comments are welcome, but I'd particularly welcome thoughts from anyone who has more detail about what might be happening with the Del Monte property.
[Comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]