HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the stroke of a koa pen, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 2783, and settled a decades-old debt for ceded lands owed the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
"It's less the idea of what is owed than it is, in the spirit of aloha, what possibilities result," he said.
The possibilities exist for OHA to create revenue streams. It will control ten parcels on the ocean side of Kakaako. The 30 acres include land where Fisherman's Wharf stands. That parcel is valued at about $35 million. The entire property OHA takes over is valued at $200 million.
"We're actually looking at certain things that would flow into the waterfront concept, whether it be shops, a bunch of small restaurants," OHA chairperson Colette Machado said.
She said OHA wants to have a concept framed within the next 90 days. The agency will entertain many ideas.
"Whether we put the Obama library there, as an example, you'll be passing through some incredible Native Hawaiian soil," said Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, chairman of the Senate's Hawaiian Affairs committee.
Some of the parcels have structures on them. Others are empty spaces. All current leases pass to OHA.
"We will be working with the local groups there and include HCDA with their master planning," Machado said.
The Hawaii Community Development Authority oversees Kakaako. It would take a change to state law to allow OHA to build high-rise residences on the land.
"I know we are limited with not having any residential currently," Machado said.
The settlement resolves ceded lands claims from 1978 to the end of June.
"It's a wonderful moment for Hawaii and especially for the Native Hawaiians," U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka said.
"I'm anticipating that we will demonstrate how much the Native Hawaiian people care and will malama that land, because that is part of our cultural foundation," Machado said.
The measure takes effect July 1, 2012.
Click HERE to view the Kakaako land.