Kumu Hou – Innovative Development at Waikoloa Beach Resort
Last week Kumu Hou, a major new development proposed at Waikōloa Beach Resort, received approval from the County Council for the required rezoning, as well as for significant terms of the agreement between the developer and the County regarding several components of the project. Here is a summary of what will be built, as well as the commitments by the developer, Waikoloa Land Company, that break new ground in addressing community concerns and needs.
What is Included in the Kumu Hou Project at Waikoloa Beach Resort
As background, Waikoloa Beach Resort is a planned development on the Kohala Coast. As with Mauna Lani Resort and Mauna Kea Resort, it is anchored by two hotels on the oceanfront and two golf courses. In addition to condominium and single family home communities, uniquely along the coast the master plan for Waikoloa Beach Resorts also includes timeshare. Existing timeshare projects are The Bay Club; Kohala Suites; and Kings Land – all part of Hilton Grand Vacations.
New development as approved by the Hawaii County Council last week, all to be established within the footprint of the existing Waikoloa Beach Resort site, consists of:
- 900 additional time share units (Area B above)
- 264 multi-family residential units and up to 25 single-family residential lots (Area A above), including at least 140 units for affordable workforce housing (area shown in purple cross-hatching above, adjacent to Queens Marketplace).
Although within this development plan will be the elimination of 9 holes of the existing golf course (leaving 27 holes of golf in the Resort), open space will be more than offset by the addition of over 3 acres of new parks and trails, including improved beach access.
Innovative Structure to Balance Resort Development with Community Needs and Land Stewardship
The Kumu Hou proposal also includes innovative features that could set a new precedent for a more responsible model of tourism in which the developer will be contributing directly to the quality of life for nearby local communities as well as for the quality of life for resort employees.
The creation of affordable workforce housing within the resort itself is a huge first, as many resort employees currently commute hours each way from more affordable communities on the island. The County is requiring this be built before sales begin on the timeshare portion of the project. The new parks and trails will be open to the public, thus creating a new amenity for resort workers as well as residents outside of the resort.
Perhaps the most innovative ongoing commitment will be the donation of a portion of the sale of each timeshare unit to create an endowment for the Waikoloa Foundation, philanthropic sister to the Waikoloa Land Company. This will raise an estimated $40-50 million endowment. The goal of the Foundation is to contribute to education, environmental stewardship, and the perpetuation of culture in the Waikoloa area. To ensure compliance, the County is requiring an annual report from the Foundation, made public for full transparency.
Construction is anticipated to begin in 2025, with the first timeshare unit sales in 2027.