Kukuiula Luxury Development Opens on Kauai
A smaller Kukuiula opens three decades after it was first proposed
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By any measure, Kukuiula on Kauai's south shore has been an ambitious undertaking. When Alexander & Baldwin first proposed the private golf club and master-planned, luxury community in the early 1980s, it received a zoning entitlement of more than 3,400 residential units.
But, for many on Kauai, the idea of a luxury development on that scale was disturbing and the developers eventually recognized that the project's original scale was too much for Kauai's sleepy south shore.
"We needed to be a more gracious, low-density, low-profile development," says Brent Herrington, president of Kukuiula Development Co. (Hawaii) LLC, a partnership of A&B and DMB Associates Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz.
Now, after three decades of navigating zoning hearings, permits, infrastructure upgrades and construc-tion, Kukuiula has celebrated its grand opening and welcomed its first member residents. In June, Kukuiula debuted its 18-hole, Tom Weiskopf-signature golf course, $100 million clubhouse, spa and other members-only amenities. The nearby Kukuiula Village shopping complex has already been open for two years.
When Kukuiula is finished (Herrington says it could take another 20 years), the 1,010-acre development will have no more than 1,500 residential units spread over multiple neighborhoods. That's less than half the original entitlement. Herrington expects Kukuiula will ultimately offer memberships for everything from "lock-and-leave" condominiums to high-end hillside homes with ocean views and as many as a dozen different price options, all connected by roads, paths and parks.
Remaining on Kukuiula's "to do" list is the final installment of the shopping center and the construction of two community parks.
As Kukuiula prepares for a major marketing blitz, it's worth noting that the bulk of its construction took place during a major recession. How was Kukuiula able to forge ahead when at least half-a-dozen smaller residential and commercial projects on Kauai's south shore stalled, faltered or were abandoned?
Herrington says that, unlike smaller-builder subdivisions, which are more susceptible to prevailing economic winds, Kukuiula was conceived as a decades-long project intended to withstand multiple economic cycles.
"Projects like this are approached with an altogether different order of long-term planning and capital allocation, recognizing it's very, very expensive to initiate something like this," he says.
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