Ed Bushor: Creating “Ohana” with Hospitality

HALL Structured Finance Borrower Spotlight Series

Ohana is a Hawaiian term meaning family, and in a much wider sense, it often refers to friends, acquaintances and entire communities. HALL Structured Finance borrower Ed “Z” Bushor, CEO of Tower Development, Inc., develops real estate throughout the Hawaiian Islands with the goal of creating a sense of “ohana” between his projects and the local community. We sat down with Ed to learn more about his impressive portfolio of properties and his mission of responsible development.


Career Highlights

Ed’s career in real estate began in the 1990s, when he started developing multifamily apartments in Southern California. He continued to diversify his footprint in commercial real estate over the next decade, developing industrial properties across the U.S. In the summer of 2008, just before the financial crisis, later known as the Great Recession began, Ed sold off all of his mainland U.S. real estate assets. He decided to move his operations exclusively to Hawaii, where he had started developing years prior, in order to dedicate the next chapter of his career to investing in communities throughout Hawaii.

In 2005, Ed embarked on his first redevelopment project in Hawaii – a 400-room hotel in Waikiki, which at the time ran $49 a night. His team rebranded the hotel to be the first true boutique hotel in Waikiki, infusing it with marine culture and a vast art collection and renaming it the Wyland Waikiki. “Wyland“, a world-famous marine artist, generously donated $10 million in art to the hotel. It was later sold and now operating as a Marriott Courtyard, maintaining its boutique ambiance while leveraging the strength of Marriott’s loyalty program. His next venture was developing the 1st Edition Worldwide, Edition Waikiki, which opened in 2010. Ed processed the design with Ian Schrager to create the first luxury boutique resort in Hawaii, which remains as the “chic” hangout in Waikiki years later.

Hula Hulas Restaurant & Bar | Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, DoubleTree by Hilton

Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo

Following his Waikiki developments, Ed was looking for his next opportunity and saw the Big Island Hilo-based Naniloa Volcanoes Resort as the perfect place to invest. After 18 months and $30 million in renovations, Ed rebranded the once bankrupt hotel to the Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, DoubleTree by Hilton. Located in the Hula capital of the world, Ed sought to honor the Hawaiin culture and Hula. Thus, he created a boutique hotel experience that celebrated the rich culture of Hula, the community of Hilo and integrated the community back into the hotel and waterfront. The hotel includes a $4 million, 1,200-piece collection of Hula art and a grand bronze Hula statue, all donated by famed Hawaiian artist Kim Taylor Reece. The hotel also launched “Hula Hulas Restaurant & Bar”, which is the first entertainment restaurant focused on hula and music with the largest restaurant hula stage in Hawaii, allowing for programming that engages both the Hula Halaus community and international tourists.

Lender Experience

HALL Structured Finance was fortunate to connect with Ed, see his vision and provide an $18.5 million loan for the Hilo hotel redevelopment. “Craig Hall, Mike Jaynes and other members of the HSF team flew all the way to Hawaii to visit the property in 2015. The fact that the HSF team was engaged enough to send their team to Hawaii gave me that feeling of “ohana.” It was the best lender experience I’ve ever had, and they truly felt like HALL cared about our team and family and most of all the community of Hilo and Hawaii,” said Ed. These renovations were able to return the hotel to its glory days when Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart and world leaders stayed at the hotel. It is also the only branded hotel on the entire east side of the island.

Out of all of the real estate that Ed has developed throughout his career, the Grand Naniloa redevelopment is the legacy project that he is most passionate about. This is due to the community experience the hotel has created for both tourists and locals in Hilo, and the generations that will experience the property and appreciate Hula culture. Forever in pursuit of bringing Ohana to Hawaiian communities, Ed plans to continue investing in new legacy projects in Kauai, Hilo and Waikiki.

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