Category: News articles

From the Phoenix Business Journal: Stan Shafer is intrigued by solving real estate development puzzles

From the Phoenix Business Journal

Stan Shafer has seen all angles of his industry, having worked as a real estate attorney and a broker before becoming a developer. “I spent 10 years protecting my clients from risks, then 22 years encouraging my clients to take risks and now I get to take risks,” said Shafer, the chief operating officer of Holualoa Cos. “One of the things I regretted as a broker and an attorney was that I couldn’t say, ‘I created that.’ It’s cool to be involved in the creative side.” Some of Holualoa’s biggest undertakings in the Phoenix area have been the development of SkySong and the redevelopment of Park Central Mall, both of which were done in partnership with Peoria-based Plaza Cos. Shafer grew up in Iowa but was a “wimp about the winter.” His grandparents moved to Arizona and he would visit them in the summer, and even credits them with being some of the first to start tubing along the Salt River, before there were commercial companies doing it.

I see a lot of race memorabilia on your walls, are you a competitive runner?

I’ve done 10 marathons and I was an active triathlete in the 1980s and ‘90s. I did the Ironman in Hawaii 32 years ago. I still run, but not marathons. My day starts at 4 a.m., I get up to exercise and, by 6 a.m., I’m on the computer and starting to work. We live on Tempe Town Lake near the walking bridge, so I like to walk and bike along the lake.

What else do you like to do in your free time?

In the summer we go to Pinetop every weekend, but you’d find me working in my office and playing golf. Literally right out the door of our cabin in Pinetop are hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails. In the winter we stay here in Phoenix. I’m a big sports fan, I like to go to ASU football and Cardinals games. I root for all Arizona teams including U of A. I’m an Arizona State season ticket holder. I love to travel. I’ve been to 49 states, I haven’t been to North Dakota. We started traveling internationally about four years ago. We have three sons, two live here and one lives in Chicago, they’re all Eagle Scouts. I was active as a Boy Scout leader but now I’m an empty-nester. I like to finish carpentry, like putting in the molding. It takes me four times longer than it would if I had hired someone to do it.
I like doing jigsaw puzzles. It’s similar to what I enjoy about what I do at
Holualoa. At work, I put together puzzles without a solution. The more complex the situation is, the more I enjoy it. The more complex are sometimes the more fun.

Your company is headquartered in Tucson, do you have to go there very often?

I travel to Tucson every week and I have a lot of time in the car. I like to listen to books on Audible. I really like to read historical fiction, I’m a big history buff, especially in European history of Ireland.

What is your job like at Holualoa?

I have a lot of hats that I wear. We have 40 domestic assets and the asset managers report to me and I collaborate with the asset managers. Whenever we sell properties, because of my attorney and broker experience I tend to take the lead. Rarely does a day go by without talking to attorneys. We invest in all sorts of different sizes of properties. You can be proud of a smaller project that isn’t as high visibility, you’re creating value and enhancing the neighborhood.

What development are you most proud of? Park Central. Revitalizing the area of Phoenix and doing something the community and the city are happy with, and bringing Creighton University [medical school] will help the state in general.

Corina Vanek
Phoenix Business Journal

Prominent Local Real Estate Professional Steve Betts Takes New Development Role with Holualoa Companies

PHOENIX, Arizona (August 24, 2020) – One of the best-known names in commercial real estate in Arizona is assuming a new role with one of the state’s top real estate investment firms. 

Steve Betts is now the Managing Director of Development for Holualoa Companies, which has a prominent portfolio of properties throughout the Phoenix and Tucson markets as part of its national and international real estate holdings. Betts had been working with Holualoa as a senior advisor the past five years. 

In his new role, Betts will be responsible for new development and redevelopment projects undertaken by Holualoa, as well as working to pursue new investment opportunities for the firm. 

Betts is Founder/President of Betts Real Estate Advisors, where he has acted as a senior advisor to Hines Development Southwest Region and the PHX Rising and Fortuitous Fund. He currently acts a director for the Tejon Ranch Company (NYSE:TRC), and as development director for Helios Education Foundation. He is also the Chairman of the University Realty (ASU) Board of Directors. 

Betts is the retired President and CEO of SunCor Development Company, the former half-billion dollar plus asset base subsidiary of the Fortune 1000 Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, and developer of master planned communities throughout the Mountainwest and large-scale office, industrial, retail and mixed-use urban projects in metropolitan Phoenix.

“We have been fortunate to be able to draw from Steve’s extensive expertise over the past five years, and are pleased to have the opportunity to create this new role for him,” said Stan Shafer, Chief Operating Officer for Holualoa Companies. “Steve is one of the most respected people in our industry in the western United States and he will be an invaluable asset for Holualoa Companies moving forward.”

Betts has also served as Co-Chair of Governor Ducey’s Transition Committee for State Lands and Parks, Chairman and current Trustee to the Nature Conservancy, chaired the Urban Land Institute Arizona District Council and serving on its Advisory Board, and served as Chairman and board member for the Teach for America Arizona Board. He serves on the Greater Phoenix Economic Council Executive Committee, was appointed by the Governor to the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance, Chaired the Interstate-11 Coalition, Vice Chaired the AZ Town Hall and served as Deputy Campaign Manager and Senior Advisor for Senator John McCain.

“I have enjoyed working with Holualoa Companies as they have cemented their reputation as one of the premier real estate firms in the region,” Betts said. “I look forward to continuing to create exceptional development projects and identify new growth opportunities for the company in the coming years.”

Holualoa was founded by I. Michael Kasser in Hawaii 35 years ago. The company expanded to the Southwest in the Resolution Trust Corporation days, moving the headquarters office to Tucson, Arizona.  The company continued to grow by opening offices in Phoenix, Arizona and Santa Monica, California. Further expansion led Holualoa to partnerships in Washington, DC and Paris, France.

About Holualoa Companies

Holualoa Companies is a real estate investment firm focused on the successful acquisition, repositioning and disposition of real estate assets. Holualoa also acquires core assets in superior locations and participates in select development opportunities. Headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, with offices in Phoenix, Santa Monica, Hawaii and Paris, France its investments span the United States and Europe and include office, retail, industrial, multifamily, self-storage and hotel properties. For more information visit

Kauffman Named CEO of Holualoa Companies

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From Commercial Executive Magazine

Tucson, Arizona – Richard B. Kauffman has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Holualoa Companies effective December 1, 2019. 

I. Michael Kasser will continue to guide Holualoa as Founder and Chairman of the company. “Rick’s leadership has been an integral part of Holualoa’s success, and his becoming CEO is a natural step forward for the company,” Kasser said.  

Kauffman, who has been with Holualoa since 2000 in various finance and operational roles, previously served as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.

 “I am honored to work with Holualoa’s skilled team of over 30 professionals and particularly with the partners on the company’s executive team, including Aroon Chinai (Chief Investment Officer), Stan Shafer (Chief Operating Officer) and Lani Baker (Vice President of Finance),” Kauffman said.

Holualoa was founded by Kasser in Hawaii 35 years ago. The company expanded to the Southwest in the Resolution Trust Corporation days with a Tucson office.  The company continued to grow by opening offices in Phoenix, Arizona and Santa Monica, California. Further expansion led Holualoa to partnerships in Washington, DC and Paris, France.

Stifel signs 10-year lease at Camelback Collective

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One of the country’s premier investment firms is moving its Phoenix office to a premier location in the Camelback Corridor’s newest office project.  Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (“Stifel”) is a full-service wealth management and investment banking firm established in 1890. It is the primary broker-dealer subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp., a diversified financial services holding company that conducts its business through several wholly-owned subsidiaries.

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Scottsdale North Marketplace sells for $16M

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A prominent north Scottsdale retail center has new ownership as a result of a $16 million sale that closed last week. Scottsdale North Marketplace, a 68,522-square-foot retail center located at Scottsdale Road and Lone Mountain Road, was purchased by a joint venture between Holualoa Companies and Epic Real Estate Partners in a $16 million transaction.

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Construction to Begin on New Creighton University Health Sciences Campus at Park Central

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PHOENIX, ARIZ. – It’s about to get busy at Park Central in midtown Phoenix, as construction of Creighton University’s nearly $100 million health sciences campus gets underway on July 8.Plaza Companies is the developer, and Okland Construction will be the general contractor for the first phase of the Creighton University building. Butler Design Group will serve as the architect, and the conceptual and tenant design and improvement architect is RDG Planning & Design….

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Phoenix’s first mall, Park Central in Midtown, finally gets much-needed new look and life

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Midtown Phoenix is no longer a canyon of far-from-full office towers built more than three decades ago.

The area that businesses moved away from in the late 1990s is now drawing start-ups and big companies that want to be near light rail, new restaurants, apartments, redeveloped buildings and revived historic neighborhoods.

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AC Hotel opens second Valley property; this time in upscale Biltmore area

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A new AC Hotels by Marriott has opened in Phoenix’s upscale Biltmore area, and it looks to cater to both business and leisure travelers.

The 160-room AC Hotel Phoenix Biltmore is part of the Marriott International (Nasdaq: MAR) brand that has heavy European influences. The property, at 2811 E. Camelback Road, had a soft opening in October and held a grand opening event on Nov. 8.

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