Friday, November 27, 2015         


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West side strides

Master-planned community projects spanning decades make Kapolei a viable option for a wide range of buyers

By Andrew Gomes


For more than 20 years, Kapolei has been one of the most concentrated areas of suburban housing development on Oahu, and home construction continues to chug along in the region stretching from Ewa Beach to Ko Olina.

Several developers are churning out phases in master-planned communities that date back decades, in the effort to create a "Second City" on Oahu from what used to be thousands of acres of sugar cane.

For the most part, new homes in Kapolei are priced for entry-level and move-up buyers, though luxury and resort homes also are in the mix.

One of the region's oldest communities, Ewa by Gentry, expects to produce 130 to 150 new homes this year at two phases, Trades and Sandalwood, where prices start in the low $400,000s.

Potential residential development could produce close to 20,000 more homes over the next 12 years:

550: Homes being built this year

31,730: Total homes in 2010

36,290: Total homes in 2015

51,500: Total homes in 2025

Source: Decision Analysts Hawaii Inc.

Bob Brant, Gentry Homes Ltd. president and chief executive officer, said the company has built about 7,300 homes in the community that began in 1988. This year, production was ramped up somewhat in response to the growing economy and buyer demand. "The market's improved," he said.

Another major Kapolei project with old roots is Ocean Pointe, which broke ground in 1997. To date, project developer Haseko Hawaii has completed about 3,300 homes, including 750 at the resort side of the community called Hoakalei launched in 2008. About 1,500 homes at Hoakalei have yet to be built.

Haseko declined to project sales this year, but has sold close to 130 homes annually on average since 2008. Earlier this month, the newest phase of Hoakalei called Kipuka began sales at prices ranging from the low $600,000s to the mid-$800,000s.

A more recent addition to Kapolei is Mehana, a project planned for 1,150 homes below the city of Kapolei. Developer D.R. Horton began producing homes at Mehana in 2008, and this year expects to produce and sell about 100 homes starting in the $300,000s.

Bob Bruhl, executive vice president of Horton's local Schuler Division, said the market this year has been steady. "The past couple years have been consistent, and that's been welcome," he said.

Another Horton project in the region is Kahiwelo in Makakilo, where the developer began work in 2008 on the subdivision of 472 single-family homes. This year, Bruhl said 60 to 70 new homes should be available for sale at base prices ranging from the high $500,000s to mid-$600,000s.

In the state's Villages of Kapolei affordable-housing community, Castle & Cooke Homes Hawai‘i plans to finish delivering the last 104 homes for sale this year at the 645-unit project that included for-sale homes and rentals.

Prices for the homes in the Kealakai, Nohona III and Makali‘i II neighborhoods range from $227,000 to $462,000.

In total, around 550 new homes are expected to be produced this year in Kapolei. Production, however, will continue to stretch out over many more years as some communities are completed and developers try to start new ones that are approved, in permitting phases or in conceptual formation.

The biggest of these potential future projects is Ho‘opili with 11,750 homes on the Ewa Plain where Horton still needs city zoning approvals after receiving permission from the state Land Use Commission last year to urbanize the 1,554-acre site.

One permitted project that has no definite timetable is Makaiwa Hills with 4,280 homes next to Makakilo.

Plans recently floated also include 4,000 homes proposed by Hunt Cos. at Kalaeloa on part of the former Navy base, and four condo towers, rising as high as 150 feet, in the city of Kapolei proposed by Franco Mola of Coastal Rim Properties.

One other long-envisioned project called Kapolei West was originally envisioned as a second phase to Ko Olina Resort & Marina with 2,500 homes. Landowner James Campbell Co. has applied to subdivide the property and is looking for a developer to carry out a development plan.

All the potential residential development could produce close to 20,000 more homes in Kapolei by 2025, according to an assessment by Decision Analysts Hawaii Inc. that projects the number of homes in Kapolei will rise from 31,730 in 2010 to 36,290 in 2015 and 51,500 in 2025.

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