Eventual buyers of historic North Kohala real estate usually discover the attractions of the Big Island’s north shore from Hawi to Pololu as tourists. They come for a zip line, or ditch ride, or to have dinner at Hawi’s Bamboo restaurant.
They stop at the statue of Kamehameha I in Kapa’au and learn that this was the birthplace of the chief who united the Hawai’ian Islands, and welcomed the Europeans to his Kingdom. A few will be attracted by the quaint plantation-era architecture and rural, small-town feel and inquire about North Kohala properties for sale.
It is not surprising that our churches and buildings from the nineteenth and early twentieth century have a New England feel, as the businessmen and missionaries who shaped Hawai’i built in the style that was familiar from “back home.”
When I listed a carefully renovated plantation-era house built in the early 1900s, I discovered that there is a pool of buyers looking specifically to be caretakers of a piece of history.
Although North Kohala was not the only place where sugar cane was grown and, therefore, the “plantation manager’s home” is to be found, we are unique in currently having two of them on the market.
Plantation manager’s homes for sale in Hawi (MLS# 241105) and Kapa’au, North Kohala
The restored Hawi Plantation House, listed for $2,676,000, has a total of 22 rooms including 7 bedrooms and a kitchen with shiny new commercial-grade appliances. On just over 2 acres walking distance from downtown Hawi, it is almost invisible from the road behind mature landscaping. The property includes its own swimming pool and tennis court.
The Kapa’au (Union Mill) Plantation Manager’s Home has also been beautifully updated, and is on the Hawai’i State Historic Register.Â With 5 bedrooms and 4,297 sq. ft. of living space on over an acre, and the price has recently been reduced to only $1,000,000.
(Editor’s note: the comments below DO NOT refer to any specific listings, except where explicitly mentioned…)
What holds back prospective buyers from translating their dream of owning a historic plantation manager’s home into a purchase?Â The reality is that a home built in the late 1800s, or early 1900s often has tiny bedrooms with few closets, and may lack an obvious “master bedroom” with double-sink en suite master bath.
In general, locations for Plantation Manager’s homes were not selected for their ocean view, but for their proximity to town and plantation.
Fortunately, there is another historic home for sale near Hawi that has what the modern upscale buyer expects in a home.
Renovated historic property (MLS# 242263) has privacy and unobstructed ocean views, offered for $1,200,000
With the annual Merrie Monarch Festival beginning this weekend, it is timely to mention the history of this property as having once been home to the Beamer-Solomon ‘ohana, whose Halau o Po’ohala is celebrating its 150th anniversary.Â When the current owners found it, the two houses on the 2-acre property were being sold in “as-is” condition and any architectural distinction was long lost.
This gave them the opportunity to renovate the structures using craftsman-quality materials, incorporating wood and elements salvaged from the historic structures. The single-story main house has two bedrooms (and yes, there is a real master with ocean view and a sumptuous master bathroom), and a kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counters, and custom cabinetry.
A second residence is connected by a deck to the main house, and has a one bedroom, one bathroom suite on each of its two stories. Both houses look out across pasture at the ocean and Maui.
This last historic property is the only one of the three that is a Hawai’i Life listing, but of course, I can show any or all of them to a real estate buyer who wants to own in historic North Kohala.