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Community projects highlighted at Realtors meeting


New projects, improvements and plans for expansion were highlighted by a panel of community representatives during a West Hawaii Association of Realtors annual membership meeting Friday at Kona Elks Lodge.

Kohanaiki Realty salesperson Elle Phillips described developments at the 450-acre luxury community that will include 420 residences. Lots are currently being sold and range from $750,000 to $5.7 million. The developer is also building 20 two-story townhomes that range from $2.5 million to $3 million, four of which have sold, and 12 three- and four-bedroom single-family residences to be sold between $2.9 million and $4 million. Six are currently under construction and two have sold.

A blessing was held two weeks ago to kick off construction of a 62,000-square-foot clubhouse that will include restaurants, a pro shop, spa and fitness center, four-lane bowling alley and 20-seat movie theater. Pools and a beachside restaurant have been constructed and the private 18-hole golf course is open and available for public play to Hawaii Island residents on Mondays for $275 per round, she said.

Phillips also explained that access to the shoreline park will become easier once Queen Kaahumanu Highway is widened to four lanes and an intersection is installed at Hulikoa Drive, which will become the new access point to the development.

Downtown Kailua-Kona is also a center of activity as events are drawing more people downtown, said Kailua Village Business Improvement District representative Eric von Platen Luder. Monthly Kokua Kailua gatherings draw between 4,000 and 5,000 people to Alii Drive and the Tuesday Trot 5k Fun Run &Walk has about 50 participants each week. Upcoming plans include a Kailua Kanikapila event, a May Day Brunch on the Bay and a “Family Floatilla” Fourth of July gathering.

The district has also hired a consultant to improve safety through a lighting plan and will also install tiki torches in a public space near Mokuaikaua Church and later along the seawall, said von Platen Luder. A comprehensive parking plan is an additional goal. He also commended Hawaii County Police Department and county officials for working toward solutions to chronic homelessness in the village. He celebrated Kailua-Kona’s designation as the No. 1 U.S. destination on the rise by TripAdvisor and the growing popularity of athletic and water activities in Kailua Bay.

“It’s a really vibrant seaside village,” he said. “Our waterfront draws people in.”

Governor’s representative Barbara Dalton said construction is underway for phases 1 and 1A of Hawaii Community College at Palamanui, which will include a nursing school, culinary resource center, an administration building and a library. The school’s current 700 students will occupy the facilities when completed in 2015, she said. Future phases of the college remain unfunded.

Dalton also described Kona International Airport improvements, which include a $172 million terminal expansion, relocating the Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center and improved security measures. Building the Kona Judiciary Complex on leased land near Kmart is a top priority of the governor, she said.

Homes could be occupied as early as 2016 at Kamakana Villages, a 271-acre, 2,330-unit, master-planned community near Henry Street, Palani Road and Ane Keohokalole Highway, she said. Plans include two school sites, and retail center. Half of the houses will be designated affordable.

A $650,000 appropriation will pave parking spaces at Honokohau Harbor, Dalton said. Boat washdown facilities will also be improved, and installation of engineered floating docks, refurbishing of bathrooms and building of a covered waiting area for boat tours are planned.

Kamehameha Schools is in the permit process, which should take 12 to 18 months, to dismantle the former Keauhou Beach Hotel, said land asset division planning and entitlement manager Allen Salavea. Once removed, construction of the 22-acre Kahaluu Makai educational site will begin.

The project will restore the cultural landscape of the area and include a multipurpose building and halau, a heritage center, overnight facilities to house up to 80 guests and stations for carving canoes and statues. The area is already used in collaborative educational programs with public schools.

“Opportunities will be open to all students, not just Hawaiian students, and from keiki to kupuna,” said Salavea.

No development mauka of Alii Drive is planned, he said.