HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Nanakuli Village Center has jumped off the drawing board, going from blueprints to buildings.
"We have a variety of tenants here, some national tenants. We also have a couple of medical clinics. So it really is a village center that is community initiated," said Kali Watson, chairman of the Hawaiian Community Development Board.
A Hawaiian blessing Thursday marked a significant step for the the multi-purpose project that began as a vision in 2002. Now, structures dot the 13 acres of Hawaiian Homestead Land.
On the mauka side of the property, 48 affordable housing units are filled with low-income homestead families.
Still under construction, Kamehameha School's community learning center will offer vocational training, certifications and other services. It's slated to open next year.
"We're building a community learning center where we want folks to be grounded in this place and in Hawaiian identity," said Kimmie Timson, Kamehameha's Waianae Coast Project Manager.
Architectural firm AHL designed some of the structures to reflect a plantation look.
“I’m super proud of the effort, not only the team at AHL but also our design consultants, the people of Nanakuli. It does take a village to create a village,” AHL architect Ethan Twer said.
CVS/Longs, Wendy's and Taco Bell are built and ready to open their doors. Other tenants will follow.
We'd like to do a job fair to try to target people in the homesteading community, give them jobs, because that has always been a challenge, a lack of income to pay their bills," Watson said.
The $50 million village was a joint effort of the Nanakuli Hawaiian Homestead Community Association and the Hawaiian Community Development Board.
Waston said the complex is a precedent setting project.
“We’d like to see other village centers throughout the homesteading communities,” he said.