In fast-growingHEALTH care tenants are filing into the $18 million Kapolei Medical Park, the latest major project opening at the fledgling West Oahu city.
Kapolei, the doctor
is in the house
The new $18 million medical
center represents a major milestone
as the city marks its 10th anniversary
By Tim Ruel
American Healthways Inc., a Nashville, Tenn.-based disease management services provider, and the full-service Mina Pharmacy have already moved in. Kaiser Permanente will add a 15,000-square-foot satellite clinic Aug. 14, said Colin Lau, project development manager. Straub and Queen's will follow soon with health care centers, he said.
The medical complex -- consisting of two buildings with a total of 50,859 leaseable square feet -- eventually will employ about 250 people, Lau said.
Campbell Estate, Kapolei's master developer, showed off the new medical park yesterday as it celebrated the 10th anniversary of ground breaking for Kapolei.
Envisioned by state planners as Oahu's "Second City", Kapolei was intended to alleviate the Honolulu traffic congestion by putting homes, businesses and government offices in the West Oahu area about 20 miles from downtown.
Ten years later, Kapolei has become a testament to long-term planning, said retired Honolulu city planner Gary Okino, who has been a leader in the Aiea-Pearl City Vision Team and is running for the City Council seat that includes Aiea, Pearlridge, Pearl City and part of Waipahu.
Okino noted that visioning for Kapolei and all of Oahu began in the mid-1970s. "That's really looking ahead," he said.
At first, a softness in the development's progress -- brought on by the weak state's economy -- had disappointed city planners, but that has changed recently with Kapolei starting to attract business, Okino said.
"I think it's picking up speed," he said.
Kapolei now has about 75,000 residents and the estate estimates 126,000 could live there by 2010. In 1995, Bank of Hawaii moved some operations and about 650 workers to a new Kapolei building. It was followed in 1998 by about 1,000 state workers who occupy the state's office building.
Last month, the $49 million Kapolei High School opened.
Still, Okino said not to look for any major cut in Oahu's traffic because of Kapolei's the development.
"It won't work as well as that," Okino said, citing studies of mainland cities that have tried the same approach. "It's hard to match residents with workplace. You might move to Kapolei, but you can't leave your job that's in town."
Campbell Estate, a private Hawaii trust founded a century ago, has invested $170 million in developing Kapolei, converting former sugar fields to a business, industrial and residential peninsula. The public sector has kicked in $192 million, including new state and city office buildings.
The estate has also been pushing high-tech mainland and local companies to open offices there, said spokeswoman Jeanne K. Schultz.
Most recently, Kapolei landed Software Pharmacy Inc., a West Coast medical information company that plans to hire 20 employees. The company is seeking skilled Internet programmers, an executive said.
Software Pharmacy, welcomed at press conference yesterday by more than 100 public and private officials, joins two other mainland tech companies that moved to Kapolei last year, Southco Inc. and Total Resource Management.
Other projects scheduled for Kapolei:
On the drawing board
Big Kmart, November 2000, bringing 300 jobs
Palama Meat Co., February 2001, 200 jobs
Chili's Grill & Bar, spring 2001, 150 jobs
Manor at Kapolei Green, an elderly care facility, fall 2001, number of jobs to be determined.