In 1976, Kakaako became the first “Community Development District” the Legislature placed under the Hawaii Community Development Authority. Replacing its deteriorating infrastructure was needed to fulfill the other goals: new housing for a full range of income levels, as well as commercial and industrial properties, parks and open space.
The Legislature opted for vertical housing, much of it already developed or underway, to provide more high-demand units in central Honolulu, addressing the housing shortage. HCDA developed two sets of Kakaako Community Development plans and rules, one for the area mauka of Ala Moana Boulevard and the other set for the makai side.
In Kalaeloa, the near-term projects include the construction of the first phase of electrical upgrades down Enterprise Avenue. The $13.5 million “energy corridor” will bring reliable power into the district for residents and landowners in its vicinity. Separately, the authority is studying what’s needed to provide safe and reliable power throughout the district.
The authority also is conducting roadway surveys in Kalaeloa to establish right-of-ways needed to support the expansion of infrastructure and further growth.
The Heeia district comprises about 400 acres near Kaneohe Bay and is a restoration project to make it a functional agricultural and cultural area. In 1991 the state acquired the property, largely wetlands, in a land exchange with the Bishop Estate, now Kamehameha Schools.
Last year, HCDA’s nonprofit partner in the district, Kakoo Oiwi, assisted with the removal of 6 acres of invasive mangrove from the mauka and makai sides of Kamehameha Highway. The overgrowth had damaged the historic farm roads as well as the fishpond.
The newest district of about 98 acres, Aloha Stadium, authorized by the Legislature in the 2019
session, will encompass planning for a new stadium as well as a surrounding complex of recreational,
residential, educational and commercial developments.
Some of the planning work has begun. The firm Crawford Architects completed the due-diligence study
identifying Halawa as the preferred site for the replacement stadium, and in about a year, will create the
request for proposals for the entire redevelopment, said Aedward Los Banos, HCDA executive director.