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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 8, 2006

Wai'anae subdivision to add 125 homes

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

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A local developer plans to start building homes next week on a long-unfinished piece of the Village Poka'i Bay subdivision in Wai'anae, adding 125 homes to the community.

Mark Development Inc. earlier this week began taking reservations for the first increment of 20 single-family homes, which are priced from about $415,000 to $470,000 and slated for completion as early as November.

The project, called Ke Ola O Poka'i Bay, would finish a decade-old plan by another local developer, Richard Mew, who built two phases of Village Poka'i Bay with about 400 homes in the early 1990s before a housing market bust derailed plans.

Mark Development, an affordable-housing development firm headed by Craig Watase, bought the remaining 37 acres of undeveloped land three years ago, and initially pursued an affordable-housing project in partnership with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

But Watase said the affordable-housing plan encountered delays and risks that led him to pursue the first market-price housing project for Mark Development.

Still, Watase said he tried to keep prices down while also decreasing subdivision density from almost 160 homes to 125 and including amenities such as solar water heating and central air-conditioning.

"I think it's going to be a welcome addition to the Leeward Coast," he said. "It's going to have a real old-style subdivision flavor to it something you just don't see anymore."

The two-story homes have three or four bedrooms, and range in size from 1,400 square feet to 1,700 square feet.

Compared with the $650,000 median price for previously owned homes sold on O'ahu last month, prices for the Mark Development project are at a moderate level that Watase said allows buyers to qualify for Hula Mae mortgages available through the state for low- to moderate-income buyers.

According to minutes of a November Wai'anae Coast Neighborhood Board meeting, the project did not raise any major objections from those at the meeting.

Reach Andrew Gomes at agomes@honoluluadvertiser.com.