Deal clears way for Waipio development
Wahiawa Hospital has settled its suit over land at the Koa Ridge residential project
Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc.
yesterday settled a four-year lawsuit with the Wahiawa Hospital Association, clearing the way for the developer to proceed with a master-planned community that will include up to 3,500 homes in Central Oahu.
The lawsuit filed in 2004 alleged breach of an agreement to sell the association 80 acres at its proposed 575-acre development at Koa Ridge, a mixed-use residential community that will include parks, recreation centers, school sites, commercial sites, and a village center integrating commercial, medical services and senior housing. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.
The hospital association, which in 2001 had planned to build a 210-acre health center at Koa Ridge to replace Wahiawa General Hospital, has scaled back its plans and restructured its original agreement with the developer. Castle & Cooke agreed yesterday to donate up to 28 acres of land for future health-care development.
R. Don Olden, chief executive officer of Wahiawa General Hospital, said the group hasn't decided on the scope of the development.
Services being considered include diagnostic imaging, oncology services, surgical and other ambulatory services, physician medical office buildings, skilled nursing facilities, acute inpatient care, emergency care services, management support services, and medical education.
"It may or may not mean a hospital," he said, adding that the group is no longer considering a facility to replace the existing Wahiawa hospital.
Whether or not a health-care facility is developed will be based on feasibility studies, demand for services in the area and economics, he said.
"There isn't a commitment to develop all those services at this point," Olden said. "The market for health-care in Hawaii has changed pretty dramatically over the last 10 years and the feasibility of any one of those services ... has got to be re-evaluated based on current market conditions."
Castle & Cooke's Koa Ridge project was stalled by Wahiawa Hospital Association lawsuit and a separate complaint by the Sierra Clubs Hawaii Chapter challenging its entitlement process. In 2006, the Hawaii Supreme Court upheld a 2003 Circuit Court decision overturning the state Land Use Commission's reclassification of 750 acres of Castle & Cooke land from agricultural to urban use for the project, requiring the developer to first do an environmental review before moving forward.
Carleton Ching, Castle & Cooke vice president of community and government relations, said the developer plans to satisfy the environmental requirement within the year.
Koa Ridge Makai, north of the Waipio Business Park, which includes the Costco outlet adjacent to the H-2 Freeway, is expected to break ground by 2009, with the first homes slated for occupancy in 2012, he said
"This agreement is the result of a lengthy process that sought to advance both of our objectives," said Harry Saunders, Castle & Cooke president.