City buys oceanfront property to prevent development in Kahuku


A large piece of oceanfront land on Oahu’s North Shore that was at risk for development is now city property.

After two and a half years of negotiation, the city closed the deal with owner Continental Pacific Friday for $12.1 million.

The property near James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge spans 114 acres with approximately 4,696 feet of shoreline. It encompasses Kahuku Golf Course, the only municipal golf course on the North Shore, which the city has operated under a lease agreement since 1937.

Officials say the deal stops any plans to close the course and develop luxury homes along the shoreline.

“You’ve got a really long stretch of preserve, not just coastline but dune structure and then the land on the inside of the dunes. It’s very unique and worth all the effort we put into it,” said Ray Soon, chief of staff.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says it’s the largest land transaction within the last 10 years, and one that almost didn’t happen.

“Like any good negotiation, it was a fair price that we paid, but if you want to look at it long-term, it’s absolutely a bargain,” he said. “It has been the dream of many people, both on the North Shore and throughout Oahu since the last cane harvest at Kahuku Plantation decades ago, to preserve one of the most beautiful coastlines in the entire world. That dream has now become a reality.”

The city intends to keep the golf course open and provide improved public access to the shoreline. Approximately 25,000 rounds of golf are played at the Kahuku Golf course every year.

We’re told the rest of the land will be largely left alone in order to preserve the habitat for monk seals, turtles, and native birds.

“We’re hoping to see more of that, to allow the wildlife to come back,” Caldwell said. “We’re looking at some sort of passive enjoyment, you know, not a heavily redeveloped park, but a park where you can come and feel like you really are in the country.”

The city says it’s looking into purchasing other pieces of land along the North Shore to save them from development.

“Malaekahana is something that can be looked at,” Caldwell said.

“There’s a number of smaller negotiations going on that just started that would probably be premature to announce,” Soon said.

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