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'Winter White House' yet to confirm Obama return

By Erika Engle

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:57 a.m. HST, Sep 20, 2010



The new owner of the first family's so-called "winter White House" is continuing to market the home as a private,luxury rental

and has as yet no confirmation that the first family will be vacationing there this holiday season.

"I know nothing about whether they're coming or not coming," said Glenn Weinberg, owner of Paradise Point Estates LLC, the company which purchased the home. The $6.9 million sale closed on July 9. Weinberg is a nephew of the late Harry Weinberg, a Hawaii real estate baron and business icon turned philanthropist.

Glenn Weinberg markets the property online himself, but also works with established luxury rental companies. "I don't have any exclusives. I deal with anyone who wants to come and bring me a tenant. I will work with them and pay them a fee," he told TheBuzz.

One such company, Ohana Beach Rentals Hawaii, issued a news release promoting the property as "the Obama Winter White House in Kailua" with pictures of the "Presidential Master Bedroom" and "Presidential Dining Area." The "Presidential Front Yard" is a photo of Kailua beach.

Rental rates start at $24,500 a week, according to its website, which works out to $3,500 a night.

Other luxury rental companies refer to the property by different but similar names, including Plantation House, Plantation Paradise and Plantation at Paradise Point. Differing rates are also posted on other companies' websites, including one that instructs Web surfers to call for pricing, one that gives a range of $3,300 to $6,000 per night, and another that quotes $4,000 a night.

The business at Ohana Beach Rentals Hawaii has grown, not in spite of the recession, but because of it, said owner Warren Daniel.

"Our business grew dramatically," he said. "While these properties languished on the market, we had more inventory to rent out."

"The flip side of that is that people who still had money and wanted to come to Hawaii were looking at (luxury rentals) as a value proposition," that offered more rooms, amenities, and other benefits including privacy, than they would at even a high-end resort, he said.

Recording artist Kanye West "was with us for a year and a half," Daniel said. West was recording an album in a studio in Hawaii Kai and was staying at both properties that compose the Balinese estate in the Diamond Head area. "He just moved out last week." The estate rents for $30,000 to $50,000 a month.

The property was and still is on the market for sale and "we did have showings and we did have brokers' opens, we did have the ability to market it while an A-list celebrity was staying in it." It is all about the up-front disclosure about the property, said Daniel. Other A-list celeb clients include Beyonce and Jay-Z.

"We do a lot of celebrity work. They're looking for premium properties," which are numerous among Ohana Beach Rentals Hawaii's approximately 100 offerings. The company is not the exclusive booking agent for the Obama winter White House, but it is for the majority of luxury condos, homes and estates it markets.

ON THE NET:

» paradisepointestates.com

» www.obrhi.com

» www.luxuryvacationhomes.com

» www.caribbeanway.com

» www.hawaiihideaways.com

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at erika@staradvertiser.com.





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