Drive down Honolulu’s Kahala Avenue away from Diamond Head and eastward towards the Kahala Resort and you will encounter one set of ornamental entry gates after another, especially Makai (or Ocean-side) of the Avenue. An aura of exclusivity unfolds, heightened by the dense lush plantings of the older residences. Most of these lots are quite large, some an acre or more of oceanfront property. With the home set back towards the ocean, the experience of entering through scrolled ironwork gates, motoring over a winding drive through dense tropical plantings evokes images of wealth, and old money. This and a world-class city only minutes away with the likes of Prada, Dior, Cartier, Harry Winston, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and other ultra-high end boutiques cements Kahala Avenues place firmly beside those other ultimate addresses.
The Glamorous Years
Like most great addresses in Honolulu, this stretch of level land fronting a golden sand beach was initially the property of one of Hawaii’s favorite royals, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop and after her death the Bishop Estate. Following World War I, the affluent started moving into Kahala. The relative flatness of the region, and the proximity to the Pacific attracted these early 20th Century Titans. As the estate continued to divide the land, agriculture gave way to residential use, and eventually beachfront homes and estates lined Kahala avenue. In January 1964, at the then cost of $12 million, the Kahala opened its doors next to the Waialae Country Club with its Championship Golf Course, and has since been the resort of choice for many celebrities, dignitaries, royalty, and world leaders as well as a stylish gathering spot to hobnob with the wealthy and famous, both local and visiting.
Eccentric Japanese Billionaire, Genshiro Kawamoto Arrives
But sometime after the beginning of the 21st century, Kahala Ave suffered a few setbacks. Enter mysterious Japanese Billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto. Between 2002 and 2010, he spent more than $165 million buying some 30 properties and more than 15 acres of mostly beach front property on Oahu, 27 of the homes on Kahala Avenue. This story is now part of local lore, and doubtless you have heard this tale of neglect, eccentric destruction of his own properties and mismanagement on a scale that perhaps even Freud would be unable to fathom.
Local Company Alexander & Bladwin comes to the Rescue
After his 2013 arrest in Tokyo on suspicion of failing to pay more than 800 million yen in corporate taxes (roughly $8.5 million at the time), Mr. Kawamoto needed to sell his Kahala Properties. Enter Alexander & Baldwin, a 147-year old Honolulu based company, that started off as a “partnership between two young men (Samuel Thomas Alexander and Henry Perrine Baldwin, sons of pioneer missionaries), with the purchase of 12 acres in Maui for $110, (and) has grown into a corporation with $2.2 billion in assets, including approximately 87,000 acres of land.” source
Alexander & Baldwin, for whom good governance and stewardship is important, has deep roots in Hawai’i. To much local acclaim, they have stepped up and purchased all of these properties. Over the past few years they have sold off most of these crumbling estates. Now new contemporary residences are rising up and down Kahala. The Kahala Hotel ownership, seeing the revitalization of this grand neighborhood, is in the middle of a major remodel and word is that the Waialae Country Club is preparing for a new look as well.
The Next and Best Era of Kahala is Happening Now
Hawaii Life is proud to announce that Alexander & Baldwin have chosen our firm to market the finest of these lots in size and location. The Beachfront Estate lot at 4585 Kahala Avenue (mls # 201708812) is over an acre with 124 linear feet of ocean frontage on sandy Kahala Beach. With gorgeous views of the Pacific and the surf break just offshore, there is no doubt that this site is perfect for a contemporary estate home. There is also the possibility based on zoning and the lots size (with various government hearing and approvals) to build multiple residential villas or condominiums. (Buyer is advised to speak with a local real estate attorney). This Estate Lot is centrally located along Kahala Avenue with easy access to the Kahala Hotel, Diamond Head and Waikiki and Kahala Shopping and dining. This is a golden opportunity to be part of the amazing resurgence of one of the World’s Finest Residential Streets.