Photo of Karl K. Kobayashi
Partner / Honolulu

Karl K. Kobayashi


Karl Kobayashi concentrates his practice in the area of commercial real estate with an emphasis on sales, acquisitions, leasing, financing and development. He also practices in the area of entitlements (land use and zoning law) and has represented clients in contested case and other regulatory proceedings before agencies such as the State of Hawai`i Land Use Commission, the Hawai`i Community Development Authority (Kaka`ako), the City and County of Honolulu Zoning Board of Appeals, the Maui Planning Commission and the Kaua`i Planning Commission. He has also represented clients in connection with other administrative trials and regulatory proceedings before State of Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission, City and County of Honolulu Liquor Commission, the U.S. Customs Service, Federal Election Commission and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Karl Kobayashi has also handled the formation, maintenance, acquisition, merger and dissolution of various types of business entities (limited liability companies, corporations, and partnerships). He has also represented parties in and supervised dispute resolution proceedings (mediation, arbitration and litigation).

Master Plan Development


Represented landowner in connection with governmental approval and implementation of master plan for one of the largest urban core redevelopment projects in Hawai`i.

Development of Large Mixed Use Project


Represented project owner in connection with obtaining entitlements for redevelopment and expansion of single use project into one of the largest multiple use commercial and residential complexes in Hawai`i.

Sale of the Damon Estate's Industrial and Commercial Properties


Represented former owner and seller in connection with the sale of industrial and commercial property portfolio located in Honolulu. Advised seller and its investment banker with respect to reviewing and organizing due diligence disclosure materials, conducting sale contract negotiations, preparing sale documentation, closing transaction and working on post-closing matters.

Sale of Ala Moana Center


Represented former owner in connection with the sale of Ala Moana Center. Advised seller in all aspects of sale, including assisting investment banker with preparation of confidential offering memorandum, reviewing and organizing due diligence disclosure materials, conducting sale contract negotiations, preparing sale documentation, closing transaction, and working on post-closing matters.

Purchase of Resort Parcel at Kaanapali North Beach, Maui


Represented buyer in connection with purchase of an approximately 40-acre parcel of land zoned for resort use. Assisted buyer with all aspects of sale including title, entitlement (zoning and land use) due diligence, preparation of purchase agreement and closing transaction.

Peninsula at Hawaii Kai


Assisted investor in connection with due diligence for large master planned residential marina project. Due diligence included land use and zoning review.

Victoria Ward Properties


Served as Hawai`i counsel in connection with the acquisition of Victoria Ward Limited. Assisted with various due diligence acquisition issues.

Corporate Transactions


Represented both sellers and buyers in connection with sales and purchases of companies via stock transactions.

Administrative Law and Regulatory Proceedings


In addition to handling land use/zoning administrative proceedings, represented various parties in administrative trials or other regulatory proceedings before State of Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission, Liquor Commission of the City and County of Honolulu, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Federal Election Commission, and U.S. Customs Service.

Real Estate Sales, Acquisitions and Leasing


Represented numerous other sellers and buyers in connection with hotels, multi-family residential buildings, office buildings, and raw land for residential and golf course development. Represented both landlords and tenants in connection with single use retail, shopping center, office and warehouse leases, including rent re-negotiations.

Real Estate Financings


Represented lenders and borrowers in connection with real estate loan transactions. Also assisted lenders with loan workouts, including "deed in lieu" transactions.

Real Estate Development and Entitlements


Represented various developers, sellers and buyers in connection with State and county land use and zoning approvals and due diligence reviews. Also prepared public offering prospectus, subdivision registration and sales documents for residential projects. Represented several owners and developers of golf course projects.

Foreign Investments


Counseled numerous foreign investors in connection with establishing business entities and subsequent U.S. investments. Work included choice of entity analysis, coordination with tax counsel, obtaining business/investor and immigration ("green card") visas, and compliance with foreign investment reporting requirements.

Dispute Resolution


Represented clients or participated (on behalf of the firm) in mediation, arbitration and litigation proceedings, including oral argument before the Hawai`i Supreme Court.

General Business Matters


Represented numerous clients in connection with formation, maintenance, acquisition, merger and dissolution of business entities (corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships). Represented majority and minority shareholders in connection with shareholder disputes. Represents food retail company and wholesale food products company in connection with various distribution and trade regulation matters.


  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating
  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2023 for Administration / Regulatory Law, Corporate Law, Land Use and Zoning Law, Project Finance Law, and Real Estate Law; listed since 2011


  • Hawaii State Bar Association