OHA goals for Kewalo unveiled to agency
The 18.5 acres include the John Dominis restaurant
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Some 18.5 acres of prime waterfront land that a few years ago was slated for luxury condos, shops and an amphitheater may soon be owned by the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
The Kakaako parcel, along with 110 acres in Kalaeloa and 80.4 acres in Hilo, are expected to be conveyed to OHA under a deal awaiting state Legislature approval.
While OHA does not have specific plans for the Kewalo Basin lands at this time, it does have a vision that bridges ancient uses of land with modern patterns, and maintains a "Hawaiian sense of place" while generating income for OHA.
"If all we do is look at money in real estate, we give up the essence of who we are and what our beneficiaries stand for," said Jonathan Scheuer, OHA's director of land management. "If all we do is look at culture, we won't have the financial resources to take care of the cultural resources we value."
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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has begun thinking about what it would do with some 18.5 acres of prime waterfront Kakaako land -- which at one time was slated for luxury mixed-use project -- that it may acquire as part of the proposed ceded lands settlement with the state.
That parcel, along with 110 acres of industrial land in Kalealoa, and 80.4 acres of resort-zoned land in Hilo, would be conveyed to OHA, fee simple, if the state legislature approves the deal.
Jonathan Scheuer, OHA's director of land management, presented the settlement legis- lation to the state Hawaii Community Development Authority yesterday morning.
The 18.5-acre Kakaako parcel skirts Kewalo Basin and is a mix of both vacant and leased lands, but would include the John Dominis restaurant, a radio tower as well as lots rented out to auto dealerships.
It would not include the harbor itself, which would remain with HCDA.
The Kalaeloa lands -- formerly used to grow cattle feed -- are currently vacant, with limited infrastructure, but noted to have the highest potentials for solar energy on the island.
Both the Kakaako and Kalaeloa parcels are overseen by HCDA. As part of the proposed settlement, HCDA would add a 14th voting member to its board, to be appointed by the chairperson of OHA.
Also, it would limit HCDA's right to condemn any of the parcels to be owned by OHA except for easements. OHA would also not be required to establish a "cultural public market," as outlined in a previous bill.
While OHA does not have specific plans for any of the three parcels yet, it does have a real estate mission and strategy.
OHA's mission is to protect and preserve Hawaii lands and their cultural significance by bridging the ancient use of lands with future land-use patterns; advocating for land use and transaction practices and regulations that fit in with the Hawaiian sense of place; and creating financially viable projects.
"If all we do is look at money in real estate, we give up the essence of who we are and what our beneficiaries stand for," said Scheuer. "If all we do is look at culture, we won't have the financial resources to take care of the cultural resources we value."
Scheuer said OHA was pleased with the mixed-use zoning for the Kakaako parcel, which generates about $1.2 million in annual income.
Scheuer said OHA would continue to work with the Kakaako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council -- or CPAC -- which has been meeting to talk about its vision for the waterfront.
The council was formed after public opposition to HCDA's original plans for the waterfront two years ago. HCDA had selected A&B Properties as the winning developer, with plans for three high-rise condos, shops, restaurants, a hula amphitheater and pedestrian bridge.
A&B Properties later scaled its plans down to two condos, eliminated the bridge and then pulled out altogether.
But public opposition prompted the Legislature to pass a bill banning residential development on the Kakaako waterfront. No residential condos would be part of OHA's plans, said Scheuer.
Michelle Matson, who is on the steering committee for CPAC, said the council has so far talked about the area as a gathering place, with public spaces and possibly a surfing hall of fame.
But if OHA does own the lands, any final decisions on what happens there would be up to its board of trustees.
NEW USES ENVISIONED
Real estate included in the proposed ceded lands settlement with OHA
|Banyan Drive (Hilo)
|Source: Office of Hawaiian Affairs