It’s been a long-time coming but on Thursday, Castle & Cooke Hawaii broke ground on its new housing project at Koa Ridge.
Once completed, the development will add 3,500 residential housing units in Central Oahu.
Located on 576 acres off Ka Uka Boulevard between Waipio and Mililani, the mixed-use, master-planned community of Koa Ridge will offer single family, multi-family, senior, and 1,050 affordable homes located in close proximity to retail, services, health care and community amenities.
“We have been committed to Koa Ridge for more than 20 years. This project will not only provide much needed housing opportunities for local residents, it will also create an estimated 1,000 construction and 2,300 permanent jobs,” said Harry Saunders, president of Castle & Cooke Hawaii. “Since delivering the last home in Mililani in 2008, we have seen growing demand for new housing for local families, due to an extremely short supply across the state. We look forward to building Koa Ridge and creating a new, vibrant community for residents to live, work and play.”
“Like many of you who have children, it really is about how do we create the opportunity for our children to call Hawaii home,” Gov. David Ige said.
Construction is estimated to cost $2 billion and include $500 million in community infrastructure improvements, including water, sewer, drainage and roadway upgrades that will begin next month.
“That whole Ka Uka interchange is going to be improved,” said Dean Hazama, chair of the Mililani Mauka/Launani Valley Neighborhood Board. “They’re going to add a total new interchange north of the project at Pineapple Road, as well as providing access on Kamehameha Highway on the west end of the project.”
Castle & Cooke said traffic will adjust to the growth.
“They’re already driving and living two, three, four families to a home with 10-15 cars in front of that home. Now they’re going to have a home of their own. It’s not going to add to the traffic. It’s going to relocate it,” Saunders said.
Home construction will start in late 2018.
The vision for Koa Ridge is to create a community for residents to work, shop, and dine in a walkable neighborhood. Plans include retail, entertainment, dining, parks, and a community center.
A new hospital and an elementary school will be built on 40 acres of land.
Department of Education Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson, Office of School Facilities and Support Services, said in a statement: “The department has been in discussion with Castle & Cooke regarding their Koa Ridge development and looks forward to continuing to work together as the project progresses. Land has been earmarked for a new school in the master-planned community, and the department is working with the developer and schools in the area to assess the potential impact.”
The community will be linked with sidewalks and bicycle paths, as well as public transportation.
A new Emergency Medical Services facility is also slated to be built nearby.
Community members told KHON2 their concern now is making sure the project stays on schedule.
“That really needs to happen because our region really needs, the central Oahu region really needs an upgraded medical facility and services,” Hazama said.
Koa Ridge was granted Urban District approval by the State Land Use Commission (LUC) in June 2012, which was upheld by the Hawaii Supreme Court in April 2016, and received Zone Change approval from the Honolulu City Council in November 2013.
The first 170 homes, including affordable units, will be finished in 2019.
We’re told sales information for the new homes will be available a year before the first homes are finished.