KAHALA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It has been two years since Alexander & Baldwin purchased 30 Kahala properties from eccentric Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto. Now, it's A&B's plans for one of those properties that is raising issues with some residents.
There was an abandoned mansion on the 1.3 acre plot once owned by Kawamoto on Kahala Avenue near Hunakai Street. A&B Properties has proposed building three two-story buildings with what could be called apartments. But they will be luxury units, costing anywhere between $6 million and $12 million each.
"We do think that there is strong demand for beachfront residences, and so that's really what's driving the development here," said A&B Properties President Lance Parker.
But some neighbors have raised concerns that if it's approved, such a development won't be a good fit in the neighborhood of single-family residences.
"Not to let the horse out of the barn, so to speak, and then have a row of duplexes and apartment-like buildings going down Kahala Avenue, that wouldn't be good at all," said Kahala Avenue resident and Waianae-Kahala Neighborhood Board member Richard Turbin.
But A&B said it will follow the height restrictions and setbacks mandated for the neighborhood.
"When you look at the property from the street as well as the beach, it really won't look that different from some of the other large estates that you have here on Kahala Avenue," said Parker.
The affluent neighborhood is rebounding and rebuilding after Kawamoto allowed his properties to fall into disrepair. And even with some concerns over the proposed development, "I think anything is better than what Kawamoto was doing to the community, which was tearing it down," said Turbin.
Alexander & Baldwin has just submitted a draft environmental assessment for the development, and the entire approval process will still take another year, according to Parker. If approved, construction won't begin until 2017.