Big Island

Kohala Kai – Oceanfront Acreage Lots for Sale

Recently an astute buyer who was researching alternatives to oceanfront lots for sale in Puako contacted me regarding the larger acreage lots at Kohala Kai. She found a blog post I wrote about Kohala Kai in 2013 regarding the shoreline public access at this small subdivision, and after our conversation, we went to tour the properties.

Here is an update to that 8-year-old article.

Gate to Kohala Kai entrance

One of the entrances to the Kohala Kai oceanfront lots just north of the Kohala Waterfront subdivision.

Kohala Kai – Seven Oceanfront Large-Acreage Lots for Sale

Oceanfront lots from Kona up the Kohala Coast tend to be small. This is true along Alii Drive in Kailua Kona, at the coastal resorts, at the community of Puako nestled in between Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea Resorts, and even at the Kohala Waterfront subdivision just north of Kawaihae, which is the neighbor to Kohala Kai. An acre or two would be a large lot.

In contrast, Kohala Kai consists of seven lots ranging from 5 acres to 28 acres.

Kohala Kai lots for sale

Kohala Kai – priced from $1,950,000 for 5 acres to $9.5 million for 28 acres, all zoned Ag-5 acres.

None of the lots have sold yet, despite being released to the market six years ago. Why is that so?

Pricing is probably the most significant factor. Take lot 3, now offered for $2,250,000. In 2015, in a much less robust market than the current one, the initial asking price was $5,200,000.

Is $2,250,000 a good price? For comparison, in 2013 I listed and sold two one-acre lots at Naupaka Place for $2,000,000 each. The two most recent sales in that small community were for $4.8 million and $5.5 million, with an active listing for $5,950,000.

While the Naupaka 1.5 acre lot backs up to the Hilton Waikoloa Village, for $2,950,000 (less than half the price), you can purchase my personal “best buy” pick at Kohala Kai, Lot 5 which has 5 acres and 380 feet of ocean frontage.

Kohala Kai oceanfront cove

Looking from oceanfront Kohala Kai Lot 5 into the crystal clear waters perfect for snorkeling.

Oceanfront Public Access at Kohala Kai (and elsewhere)

So what was the resolution of the dispute over the location of the shoreline public access at Kohala Kai?

Although donation of an easement has not been formalized, the developer received subdivision approval on the basis of working with the National Park Service to locate the lateral shoreline public access across the Ala Loa Trail. The NPS manages the 175-mile Ala Kahakai trail, which is actually a network of shoreline trails with historical and cultural significance.

naupaka kai lots 7-8

Shoreline trail in front of Naupaka Kai at Waikoloa Beach Resort — the same Ala Kahakai Trail,  just another segment.

In fact, the Ala Kahaki Trail will cross your oceanfront property anywhere on the west or south side of Hawaii Island, whether you are at Kohala Kai, Puako or one of the resorts. Keep in mind these are not new “trails;” the shoreline has been used for fishing, gathering, and coastal access by Native Hawaiians and local residents for generations. The best way to look at the shoreline public access is as a way to connect with the historic past and perhaps learn from the descendants of the area you now call home.

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