The Story of Big Mike PDF Print E-mail

Mike Harrah is a daredevil and a developer. Sometimes, he is both at once. Now, he wants to make a lasting mark in Hawaii

Mike Harrah can’t help but make a big impression.  He’s 6’6, 300 pounds and, as numerous writers including this article’s Scott Radway have noticed, he looks like “an oversize, high energy member of ZZ Top.”  At the time of publication, Harrah was looking to make a big impression once again, this time on the Honolulu skyline.  The Pinnacle Honolulu is a 36-story luxury condominium tower located at 1199 Bishop Street.  With only one to two units per floor and a penthouse suite taking up the top two stories, prices started at $800,000 and quickly sold.  In this article, Harrah was quoted as saying, “At the end of the day, I want everyone to take a look back and say, ‘That is a Mike Harrah project.’ It is superiorly built, it’s a great value, and it is a one-of-a-kind landmark.’”   The Pinnacle project wasn’t Harrah’s first foray into Hawaii—right after his high school graduation he and a buddy bought one-way tickets to Hawaii, planning on living the penultimate beach bum lifestyle.  Six months of picking pineapples for 67-cents an hour and he scraped together the money to fly stand-by home.  Harrah built a successful career as a real estate developer and by 1980 was ready to take another chance on Hawaii. After working on The Kawai Beach Boy Resort for 2 months without getting paid, Harrah tried to buy the resort, but politics clouded the deal.  Harrah finished the work and walked away from Hawaii once more.  The Pinnacle project was his successful return to Hawaiian development.

Read More in the May 2007 Hawaii Business