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A short history (and cultural?) lesson on Hawaii Kai

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Hawaii Kai is known for its great location on the south-east corner of Oahu, easy access to the ocean, and the quality of life. You can spend between $500K, up to just under $14 million on a home here. Here is a brief overview of Hawaii Kai.

In 1961, Henry J. Kaiser entered into a long term land lease with Bishop Estate, that would allow him to develop a large part of east Oahu (Hawaii Kai) into residential housing tracts and commercial properties. He had begun dredging, widening and deepening the Kuapa pond, which would later become canals, so that homes could be built along the waterways and boats could travel through them as well. Hawaii Kai was Oahu’s very first planned community. Ironically, Kaiser had moved to Hawaii just 5 years prior, to retire. He had his own empire on the mainland, holding 29 different companies. He obviously had a vision that wouldn’t die until he brought it to fruition.

Cynic’s of Kaiser’s project called Hawaii Kai “Kaiser’s Folly” as they began selling homes for only $18,750 and lost a lot of money on each one. In the beginning, local folks were very skeptical buying a home from Kaiser. So he brought in local and mainland subcontractors that buyers were more familiar with. After that, the homes started selling like crazy!

In the end, Kaiser didn’t make much money on the Hawaii Kai development. “The only people who made money are the homeowners themselves. Property values have gone through the roof. But I think Mr. Kaiser would be perfectly happy with that fact.” Tim Yee (former corporate vice president of real estate at Kaiser Aluminum) told Hawaii Business Magazine in June 2005

There is a great and glorious neighborhood culture in Hawaii Kai. The more you live here, the more you feel, see, and sense it. It’s wonderful! I love that I cannot go anywhere in Hawaii Kai without seeing someone I know who wants to come over and ‘talk story’ with me. It’s Aloha at it’s finest folks! Some people think that because Hawaii Kai is only 50’ish years old, that it doesn’t’ have as much history as some other area’s on the island….not true! Hawaii Kai is a melting pot of cultures and diverse combinations of families living together.

-Chelsea Pferschy RS# 76072 (808) 754-6000

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