Not far from downtown Honolulu and set along Oahu’s southern shore, there is a 1.5-mile stretch of road tracing the Pacific coastline known as the “Beverly Hills of Hawaii.”
Kahala Avenue may be more Shangri-La than Rodeo: its soothing coconut palms, water views and exclusive oceanfront mansions delivering a form of mental therapy as opposed to retail therapy. But not unlike 90210, Kahala’s 96816 has attracted its fair share of celebrities, politicians and tycoons. David Geffen, Adnan Khashoggi, Chris Hemmeter, Richard Boone and Clare Booth Luce are among the many prominent names said to have called the area home. Other Kahala residents were better known for their famous houseguests: Ronald Reagan, Clark Gable and Jackie Kennedy Onassis among them.
And why wouldn’t they want to enjoy Kahala’s golden shores? Kahala offers paradise of prestige and privacy. Or at least, that was true 25 years ago before a Japanese billionaire by the name of Genshiro Kawamoto entered the picture. According to reports, Kawamoto began buying properties along the legendary avenue, allegedly offering homeowners above market value plus more for their homes. Residents who had lived in the community for decades tearfully left and took the rich cultural fabric of Kahala with them. At his height, Kawamoto is believed to have owned as many as 30 properties on Kahala Avenue. Many of these properties eventually fell into disrepair.
“Imagine someone buying estate properties along beautiful Mapleton Drive in Bel Air and just letting them go—effectively destroying the neighborhood,” recalls Anne Hogan Perry, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. “That’s what happened to Kahala.”
Kahala is now getting a second life. In September of 2013, Honolulu-based Alexander & Baldwin Inc. announced it had purchased approximately 30 Kawamoto properties in Kahala, Windward Oahu and on Maui for $98 million. The company plans to clean, clear, refurbish and prepare the properties for resale—a welcome development for Kahala residents who had been observing the deteriorating condition of Kawamoto-owned properties and their negative impact on portions of the upscale neighborhood over the last decade. Five of the prized Kahala properties have been listed by realtors Hogan Perry, Tracy P. Allen and Beth Chang of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, who joined forces to market them.
“They’re heroes in our eyes,” says Chang of landowners, Alexander & Baldwin. “They saved this land. We are beyond elated to help restore the prestigious distinction that a Kahala address once had.”
Adds Allen: “Honolulu is going to see luxury sales numbers like we’ve never seen before. With Kahala having lost its position among the luxury elite homes due to the disrepair, high-net-worth buyers on Oahu were left with few options for large luxury estates. Now we’re going to see those buyers come back.”
They might arrive sooner rather than later. The five properties, listed in early 2014, have already found favor among investors from China, Japan, Korea, Canada, Australia, U.S. Mainland and local Hawaii “who all appreciate the value The Avenue offers and are overjoyed to be a part of the rejuvenation of it all,” says Allen. Previews® Inside Out takes a closer look:
- 4663 Kahala Ave—Priced at $22 million, this home was built in 1989 and is the largest of the properties with a total of 55,937 square feet extending from Kahala Avenue to the shoreline. With approximately 17,000 square feet of interior living area, it includes 10 bedrooms, 9 full baths, lanais overlooking the gardens, swimming pool and ocean, and a separate area for staff and/or guests. Describes Hogan Perry: “This property is a trophy estate, located in the center of ‘The Avenue’ with a spectacular sandy beachfront of 119 linear feet and a beautiful swimming spot.”
- 4439 Kahala Ave—Priced at $13.5 million, this property is vacant and ready for new construction. The total parcel is 35,428 square feet with 97 feet of beach frontage. An opportunity exists to combine the property with adjacent oceanfront parcels to create a “mega estate” with approximately 525 linear feet of beach frontage. “This property is a personal favorite,” says Chang. “Its elevated setting complete with a sea wall provides a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the waterfront setting and rolling waves along the outer reef.”
- 4332 Kahala Ave—Priced at $2.95 million and built in 1989, this residence is located on a 13,500-square-foot lot with mature trees. The two-story stucco home includes 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths, and a total living area of 6,489 square feet. Allen reveals that the well-built residence “includes many commercial grade features. It provides an excellent opportunity for a buyer looking for a home in a premier neighborhood.”
- 4744 Kahala Ave—Priced at $3.375 million, this property is 20,021 square feet and zoned R-5. A buyer’s option would be to build one home on the lot or purchase 4758 Kahala Ave. directly adjacent to create a mega estate with side by side lots totaling 37,861 square feet. One of the key selling points of this property? “This end of the avenue is favored for its proximity to The Kahala Hotel and Waialae Country Club,” says Hogan Perry.
- 4758 Kahala Ave—Priced at $2.995 million, this parcel is 17,480 square feet, cleared, ready for new construction and zoned R-5. The property is on the mountainside of Kahala Avenue with access to a sandy section of Kahala Beach just across the street. “A builder might want to take advantage of an option to also acquire a neighboring property for a total of 37,861 square feet,” says Chang. “It is almost impossible to duplicate this opportunity in Kahala.”
The rebirth of Shangri-La, indeed. This is one renaissance we’ll be watching ever so closely.
For more information on these properties, contact (808) 748-2656 or KahalaEstates@cbpacific.com.