Kapolei holds promise
as urban counterweight
Mayor Hannemann has praised progress toward making Kapolei an urban center.
THE carving out of an expanded Barber's Point Harbor as the core of a "second city," complete with industrial, business, residential and tourism zones, seemed farfetched. Twenty-five years later, the goal of creating actual H-1 rush hours in opposite directions is near, thanks to cooperation and resolve among governments at all levels and the Campbell Estate, visionary owner of the former cane fields that have become Kapolei.
Eighty percent of Kapolei residents now have jobs elsewhere on Oahu, but two-thirds of the commuters would prefer working in the area, according to an estate-commissioned survey. As commercial development continues in the Kapolei area, a study indicates that the number of working-age residents compared with jobs in the area from Ko Olina to Ewa Beach will decrease from 44 percent today to 17 percent by 2025.
The study projects that commercial office space in and near Kapolei will grow during the next 20 years to 7.6 million square feet, compared to the 8.4 million square feet now in central Honolulu. During that time, the number of jobs in the area is expected to grow from today's 24,860 to 64,720.
That growth, combined with plans for mass transit and a ferry system between downtown and Kapolei, should significantly ease traffic congestion on the freeway. At the same time, it will have created a city -- not a bedroom community -- where Mayor Hannemann expects, "my goodness, everybody's going to want to live."
Growth so far has created traffic jams not only to and from Kapolei but within the new city. Senators Inouye and Akaka recently gained approval of federal expenditures on roadway improvements that include new and much-needed H-1 interchanges halfway between the Makakilo and Kunia ramps and adjacent to the Kapolei office buildings.
All this arose from the inspiration of the descendants of James Campbell and his wife, Abigail Kuaihelani Maipinepine. The will of the Scottish carpenter, who became one of Hawaii's largest landowners in the 1800s, called for termination of his trust 20 years after the death of their last offspring.
As Beatrice Campbell Wrigley entered her advanced years, the heirs set into motion a plan for creating a diversified city in the plains below Makakilo, where the estate had developed a residential area in the 1960s. Wrigley died at age 91 in 1987, setting the date for the estate's dissolution at 2007.
The estate's plans complement Oahu's needs. Mayor after mayor and governor after governor have signed onto the enormous public-private partnership that promises to enrich the community as much as the Campbell heirs. The estate will be converted in 2007 to the James Campbell Co. LLC, a real estate company.
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