When you drive into Puamana these days, tractors, piles of dirt, tarps, port-a-pottys, and cement mixers seem to be everywhere… There are four complete teardowns on Pualei drive alone and many more interior remodels and projects going on. This is all good news and part of the master plan! We are upgrading the property.
(May 2016) This photo shows the entire 129 Pualei Drive block – 129-3 is torn down to the slab. The 129-1 building will have unobstructed surf views from upstairs. 129-2, in between the two, sold at the end of April, 2015, for $790,000. They are probably planning on joining in with the block remodel.
This shows 129-1 Pualei at the beginning of the remodel a few months ago
What’s With All the Construction?
There are a few reasons why so much construction is going on:
1. Puamana was built in 1968. Infrastructure is aging. It is such a cherished spot that homewoners understandably want to improve and beautify not only our homes but the historic Clubhouse and grounds as well.
2. We have a new General Manager, Scott Naganuma, who knows how to get things moving not only within Puamana but within Maui County.
3. Puamana received its Transient Accommodation permits a couple of years ago and owners are upgrading to stay competitive and get a maximum return on their rentals.
4. Coming out of the recession, owners had planned to remodel for years and saved up, waiting for the economy to take a turn upwards.
As opposed to interior renovations, many owners now chose to tear down condos to the slab and start over. This is partially because plumbing and electric is aging and it’s smarter to start fresh. Also owners gain square footage by pushing walls out or roofs up and adding a second or third floor and/or expanding the patios.
Many of the original Puamana condo designs feature oversized stairways and a strange design with bathrooms, closets, or louvered windows on the oceanside or sunset view wall; although many of the condos near the shoreline are no longer allowed to build up or add an upstairs balcony due to the shoreline setback.
This photo shows the total rebuild almost complete onoceanfront unit 150-1 Pualei Drive – to the right is 136 3&4 Pualei Drive – the double ocean front condo offered at $6.9M. Photo May 2016.
Maui Electric is also winding down a major two-year project to upgrade the aging infrastructure within Puamana. This will be finished by the end of 2016. There are no electric poles in Puamana; it is all underground.
Oleanders have been cut back and re-planted to grow back thicker and block traffic noise. Also a new fence is going in next to the canal that runs through the property. The Mauka pool is getting a facelift.
First of all, plans need to be drawn up. Chris Arnold, who knows Puamana’s ins and outs, does most of the drawings (Chris Arnold Drafting service: 669-4439). Then the Puamana Architectural Committee, which meets twice a month, needs to approve all plans. Then permits must be obtained from Maui County. The county is backlogged and also it can be difficult to obtain approval since difficult many units in Puamana are closer than the new 75’ official shoreline setback Homeowners can do their own contracting work, but most work with a contractor. Jeffrey Cocker from Moku Builders is a licensed contractor: (808) 281-6195. Matt Hubbell is also a licensed contractor working in Puamana: (808) 250-3023.
Why Puamana is My All-Time Favorite Place
I may be extremely biased as I have fallen in love with Puamana and owned and lived on Pualei drive with my family full time since 2004. I’ve experienced many different places on Maui since the early ‘70s; I was raised upcountry and my parents still live on the North Shore and Napili Point, and Puamana is my all-time favorite. It is a great place to raise your children or come on a relaxing vacation. You don’t need to get on your phone and pack up your car to find surf, go to the gym, or meet up with a friend.
Our historic Clubhouse and grassy play area…
Puamana community events include social events at the Clubhouse, a library and book club, easter egg hunts, movie nights, a private gym, three swimming pools, a tennis court, and even a New Year’s eve talent show (my favorite!), not to mention the Pacific out front with a sandy beach (that comes and goes).
There are surf spots out front for all skill levels, even the very beginner. Puamana feels like an old town where we walk down main street at sunset and chat with the neighbors or returning visitors…walk the dog, stroll the baby. The kids are out skateboarding or selling lemonade or overpriced fundraiser items. I love it all!
The author in 150-1 Pualei drive when the condo was torn down in December 2015