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StarBulletin.com

300 acres donated for learning center


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POSTED: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Developer Jeffrey R. Stone is donating 300 acres of Makaha Valley land to anchor a Kamehameha Schools Learning Community and affordable housing for native Hawaiians, a gift that will be announced this afternoon at the Governor's Office.

“;I believe that Kamehameha Schools and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will infuse the entire Leeward Coast with this life-giving facility,”; Stone, president of The Resort Group, said yesterday. “;Having over 500 families able to live in a beautiful new housing complex will revive the whole area. The learning community itself will be a fabulous asset to everyone on the coast.”;

As reported in the Star-Bulletin last August, Stone is giving Kamehameha Schools roughly 70 acres of undeveloped land west of Makaha Valley Country Club. He is also donating 230 adjoining acres, including the golf course itself, to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for housing and community development.

Kamehameha Schools plans to spend about $100 million to build the Learning Community in Makaha, in an effort to extend the schools' reach beyond its traditional campuses, according to CEO Dee Jay Mailer. The complex will act as a laboratory to strengthen public and private education along the Leeward Coast, from infancy to adulthood.

Although Kamehameha Schools is the state's largest private landowner, until this gift it had no land on the Leeward side of Oahu, home to the largest concentration of native Hawaiians. Legal documents transferring the land were signed on March 24, Stone said.

Stone, developer of Ko Olina Resort and Marina, said he decided to give the property to “;create a legacy education and housing community”; after learning that Kamehameha Schools needed a fee-simple land site. The complex will be known as the Kamehameha Schools Learning Community on the Stone Family Lands.

Stone said Ko Olina has helped bring 10,000 jobs to the area, and “;my goal is to see the children along the coast grow and be ready.”;

The 300-acre Makaha property, zoned for residential and preservation use, was recently assessed by the city at $8 million. Stone's company had bought the Makaha Valley Country Club and surrounding land in 2004 for about $5 million and has since put in $2 million in improvements. Asked whether the gift offered tax benefits, Stone said, “;It doesn't have substantial tax consequences for me. It's not being done for that purpose.”;

Makaha Valley Country Club will continue operations for now but will eventually close down as the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands redevelops the property.