Major redevelopment plan promises to bring jobs to Makaha Valley

Major redevelopment plan promises to bring jobs to Makaha Valley
Published: Jan. 1, 2016 at 10:48 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 1, 2016 at 11:03 PM HST
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MAKAHA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A multi-million dollar project aims to transform a struggling Leeward Coast community into a resort destination in a few years. The redevelopment plan for Makaha Valley includes a new four-star hotel and golf course, providing hundreds of badly-needed jobs.

"There's not many jobs on the Waianae Coast. We're very isolated so unemployment is still very high. The poverty level is high. So there really is a need for quality jobs," said State Senator Maile Shimabukuro (D, Kalaeloa, Waianae, Makaha).

The former Makaha Resort closed in 2011, leaving nearly 100 people out of work. Crews have demolished more than half of the old resort to make way for the future. Pacific Links International acquired nearly 650 acres, including two golf course properties. The new project promises to create more than 500 hospitality jobs.

"Whether it be sales, marketing, to actual food and beverage, to actually working within the hotel asset itself," explained Micah Kane, board of advisor, Pacific Links Hawaii.

Pacific Links is teaming up with Stanford Carr Development for the estimated $300-million plan.

"You're looking at something between a 200 to 300 room hotel with height limitations no greater than 65 feet," said Kane.

Pacific Links has been meeting with stakeholders and local leaders during the last three years to incorporate community needs into the plan, such as restoring the Makaha Mauka Watershed.

"Pacific Links worked with state and other partners to get a Grant-in-Aid to restore some of the watershed and to prevent erosion, to help with the loi (taro patches) in Makaha Valley, to help with the heiau (traditional places of worship)," said Shimabukuro.

Pacific Links also helped to organize support for a bypass road mauka of Farrington Highway behind the Makaha Surfing Beach restrooms.

Residents hope the resort development and other improvements lead to long-lasting changes.

"I hope that a lot of people that are either unemployed or underemployed or having to leave the community and do long commutes will be able to stay in Makaha and work close to home," Shimabukuro said.

Once a hotel partner is chosen, planning and design of the resort will begin. The goal is to have the hotel open by 2019.

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