The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, marking the start of a $17 million capital improvement project to install infrastructure for the planned Puʻunani subdivision in Waikapū.
The project will provide infrastructure in support of the subdivision, which will comprise 161 residential lots for DHHL native Hawaiian beneficiaries. This includes 137 turn-key homes and 24 improved vacant lots.
DHHL reports the funding is the first from the $600 million appropriated under Act 279 to serve beneficiaries on the DHHL waitlist.
A Final Environmental Assessment for water system storage improvements was published in October 2022. That portion of the project was projected to cost $4.2 million, according to an FEA document.
The estimated direct project construction cost for the subdivision was estimated at $72.3 million for lot development, installation of infrastructure, and construction of turn-key homes. That estimate was included in the subdivision’s 2020 Final Environmental Assessment.
The subdivision will be located mauka of the Honoapiʻilani Highway, between the Waiolani and Kehalani subdivisions.
Dowling Company, Inc. will work on grading, construction of roads, and utility improvements for the homestead community. Project improvements include internal roadways, potable water, sewer, drainage detention basin, utility connections, and roadway frontage improvements along Honoapiʻilani Highway.
DHHL reports construction is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2024, with the first of 137 turn-key homes expected to be offered in the third quarter of 2025, pending the completion of an additional water tank.
DHHL reportedly acquired an approximately 48-acre parcel in Waikapū in June 2019 that would become the future Puʻunani Homestead Subdivision based on an agreement to transfer Affordable Housing Credits to the developer.
Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair Kali Watson said the Department “will need to continue to explore these types of opportunities to execute on the Hawaiian Home Commission Act’s fiduciary commitment to put Hawaiian families in homes.”
A Final Environmental Assessment for the subdivision was published in 2020. At the time, DHHL reported that upon project competition, the Residential lots would be offered to Waiohuli Undivided Interest lessees in their original selection order based on a 2019 HHC decision allowing the relocation of these leases; and any remaining lots would be offered to the Maui Island Residential Waiting List.
*This story was updated with visuals and additional information from the groundbreaking event.