Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, January 27, 2005

DHHL focus on Kapolei

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Central O'ahu Writer

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is pinning its star on three developments in Kapolei to set a fast-track pace toward meeting its stated goal of awarding 6,000 statewide residential leases to Native Hawaiians by 2010.

"Kapolei was one of three places in the island chain where Hawaiians would go to identify Hokule'a, which is one of three stars that led to and from Tahiti," said Micah Kane, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands chairman.

The Kapolei area is the guiding light for DHHL's new aggressive philosophy of building larger, master-planned communities as opposed to smaller pocket developments.

DHHL's development of 380 acres in the region will include Kaupe'a, a 326-lot project on 53.3 acres at what was formerly called Village 8. Groundbreaking for Kaupe'a was held Dec. 14. Infrastructure work is under way and home construction will begin in December of this year, Kane said. And Malu'ohai at the Villages of Kapolei, a 45-unit self-help project formerly known as Village 6, was recently completed.

East Kapolei I is the proposed third project. The plan calls for 380 single-family homes of 5,000 square feet to be built on 100 acres. The new $12 million DHHL office, on a campus-style setting on nine or 10 acres by the third quarter of 2007, and a community center will be part of the East Kapolei I development, adjacent to the University of Hawai'i's West O'ahu campus.

"The primary goal is to provide a thriving community where our people can live, work, play and learn," Kane said. "We also want to go into communities with the concepts and ideas of how we can benefit our surrounding communities. ... We need to make sure that our adjacent landowners, like in the case of East Kapolei, know that we are bearing the major costs of bringing down water from the mauka lands and sewer lines from the makai lands."

Kane said DHHL has been working with the state Transportation Department on accelerating the building of the North-South Road and with the county on Kapolei Parkway. "The two bisecting roads are critical pressure points for the region," Kane said. "If they're built, traffic and congestion in the region will subside tremendously."

The self-help Malu'ohai project, developed by Menehune Development Co. with help from Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, was dedicated Jan. 8. DHHL, the master developer, spent $12 million to put in on-site infrastructure improvements for 226 lots on the parcel, where the first hui of 12 families began constructing $70,000 three-bedroom, two-bath homes in January 2003.

"This was an exciting project for us because it proved that we can hit larger numbers with the self-help concept," Kane said. "So you'll see that self-help concept in East Kapolei I. We plan to blend the demographics of Malu'ohai."

The $18.3 million cost for Kaupe'a's infrastructure work is being met by the Native Hawaiian Trust Fund and money from the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Because 25 percent of the cost is being met by Native Hawaiian housing grant money, 25 percent of the households in the subdivision must be at 80 percent and below median income ($52,550 in 2004) for the area.

"Over the history of our trust," Kane said, "we've had difficulty lining up support at the federal, state, county and legislative levels. It's a unique time right now because there is support for the fulfillment of native issues. We have the governor, the Legislature and the (congressional) delegation all in support so it allows us to move quickly.

"... Malu'ohai and breaking ground on (Kaupe'a) is a sign that we can execute. As we move east into East Kapolei I, I cannot understate the importance of our success in this region."

DHHL's Kapolei projects will be completed by 2010, said Kane. Many of the future residents already live in the region, he said.

DHHL is also proposing master-planned communities for Wailua on Kaua'i; Kula and Lei'ali'i on Maui, and Maku'u, La'i'opua and La'iamilo on the Big Island.

Reach Rod Ohira at 535-8181 or rohira@honoluluadvertiser.com.

• • •