A plan to integrate educational facilities and affordable housing for a new community for underprivileged Leeward residents has fallen apart.
Developer Jeff Stone, who agreed last year to donate 300 acres in Makaha Valley for the project, has withdrawn his offer.
The deal’s unraveling shocked community leaders who had high hopes for the innovative plan, which was announced early last year and hailed as a dream come true.
Kamehameha Schools, the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Stone were partners in the so-called learning community.
The plan called for 400 to 600 affordable houses to be built by DHHL for Hawaiians and connected with educational enrichment facilities Kamehameha Schools would develop for Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian children ranging from preschoolers to young adults along the Leeward coast. Stone committed to donate the 300 acres, including and surrounding Makaha Valley Country Club, giving 66 acres to Kamehameha Schools and 234 acres to DHHL.
The three partners have different views on why the land gift is being withdrawn.
According to Stone, DHHL failed to accept its piece of property by a Feb. 11 deadline, and though DHHL asked for an extension to Aug. 30, Stone said the agency didn’t follow up on its request.
“It kind of went dark,” Stone said, referring to communication with DHHL since January. “We expected to get something new in writing from them.”
DHHL spokeswoman Crystal Kua said Stone refused the extension request. “We asked him for an extension, and he said, ‘No,'” Kua said, adding that DHHL encountered some delays in examining the property but is now ready to sign a deed accepting the land by June 30.
Kamehameha Schools was ready to accept its piece of the property in February, but that was contingent on DHHL taking its piece.
Because of the breakdown between Stone and DHHL, Stone notified Kamehameha Schools last week that his gift was no longer justified.
Stone, who is also the master developer of Ko Olina Resort & Spa, said Wednesday that if DHHL can indeed accept the land gift by June 30 then he will complete the land transfer. “My gift and commitment is still very sincere,” he said.