Tahitienne is one of the first “high-rises” built on Oahu’s Gold Coast. Originally an eight-story building, a ninth-floor penthouse was added at some point. It rests alone with 2,800 square feet plus an additional 645-square-foot lanai that stretches 50 linear feet across the ocean. There are three bedrooms with two-and-a-half bathrooms. Listed at $6.4 million with Anne Oliver from Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, it’s a sweet place to call home.

To take advantage of the views, the main rooms slot from left to right along the ocean. Upon entering there is a guest room immediately to the left (more later) but forward is the living room. Next to that is the central kitchen, which is flanked on the other side by the dining room. Beyond the dining room is the full-depth, ocean-to-Diamond Head master suite. If you always want to be looking at the water (and you do), this is the layout. The home was renovated in 2008 by the Los Angeles-based ID Group.

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Passing by a long-vacant lot, a sign suddenly appeared heralding the future of six townhouses facing the ocean on Oahu’s storied Kahala Avenue.  The lot’s most recent history involves a Japanese billionaire who purchased over 30 homes and lots in this small enclave that he subsequently let deteriorate. Some thought his plan was to degrade the neighborhood so he could buy more at a bargain. Publicly, he boasted of wanting to return this wealthy area back to native Hawaiians by enabling them to rent mansions for pennies. Neither can be proven true. What is known is that many of the neglected properties required razing. Along Kahala Avenue these lots turn a gap-toothed smile to the ocean.

This lot, 4607 Kahala Avenue, is slated for redevelopment. Instead of a single home across its 1.33-acre site, six are planned, which has rankled some neighbors. In truth, there’s only one other multi-family oceanfront development in Kahala, and its leasehold is expiring in 2027.

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When I saw the Mandarin Oriental construction fencing go up across from the Honolulu convention center, my curiosity was piqued. First, the Mana’olana Place development isn’t a stellar location. To contradict the marketing materials, it is not “steps from the beach” and certainly not while schlepping chairs, towels and sunscreen. It’s also flanked by a bevy of stripper bars and sits across from the aforementioned convention center that’s far from the beehive of activity promised by city leaders more than 20 years ago.

Being a Mandarin Oriental, you’d expect a better, more chic location. Granted, as Kaka’ako (with its large Howard Hughes development in progress), Waikiki and downtown Honolulu inevitably merge together, the Ala Moana area will be just another part of the city, but that’s years away. Folks buying one of the 99 condos or staying in the 125 hotel rooms are unlikely to want a front row seat to a neighborhood in transition.

It, like Kaka’ako, is unlikely to become a super-vibrant neighborhood either. The new high-rises popping up are not aimed at local residents. They’re almost all ultra-luxury targeting the global elite who may spend a few weeks a year soaking up the sun while their asset appreciates. I have visited several of those new buildings and been told that 10 percent occupancy is average. Like its brethren, the Mandarin Oriental is largely constructing an empty box staffed with low-paid servants waiting for someone to show up.

Then there’s the attitude.

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Honolulu’s Gold Coast is a scant half-mile stretch of oceanfront high-rises at the foot of Diamond Head. You may think that Hawaii has the same unending tonnage of oceanfront high-rises seen around Florida, not true. Within Honolulu, there are just 18 oceanfront residential high-rises. Seventeen are on the Gold Coast, and one in Waikiki. None are newer than 1970, with most dating to the 1950s and 1960s. Typical condos sell between $1,500-to-$2,200-plus per square foot.

Built in 1958, the 12-story Tropic Seas isn’t the toniest building on the street, but that’s where bargains reside. Unit 203 is just such a bargain. The one-bedroom unit has 618 square feet with an additional 121-square-foot lanai. You know there’s a renovation needed when the first listing photo showing the interior is the 13th of 19 photos. But at $499,000, that’s $675 a square foot.

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3165 Diamond Head Road (Unit C highlighted)

Back in 1982, two oceanfront thirds of an acre caught the eye of a developer who created a four-unit community behind private gates. Called Ku’u Makana it’s located in Honolulu at the foot of Diamond Head crater on the island of Oahu.  Each of the four units are identical — 3,536 square feet indoors and another 674 square feet of lanai space.

In the photo above, the demarcation of the units is obvious with the center fireplace chimneys.  No, it doesn’t get cold enough to need a fireplace and you’d likely need the air-conditioning cranked if you used it, but there you go. There are left-right and up-down units.

Currently, the two upper units are for sale – one in need of an overhaul and the other already renovated. Unlike a recent gut job I toured in Dallas, with $1.023 million separating the units, the renovation is more than priced into the deal.

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The world is captivated by the images coming out of the big island of Hawai’i this week as Kilauea erupted into the Leilani Estates subdivision. Thus far there are 10 fissures opened along the Eastern Rift Zone that runs along a historic volcanic path, marked by ancient volcanic ridges to the south.

Heat Map listing the 10 current fissures.

Next week, I’ll be in Hawaii on special assignment (ha!) looking into the perils of natural disasters and how insurance is likely the best defense in areas prone to a host of potential disasters. As you can see from the heat map above, there are a lot of homes near this unfolding eruption. There are already multiple stories out about how many regular insurance policies won’t cover homeowners’ damage.

 

Remember: When I’m not stirring up trouble in Dallas, Texas or Honolulu, Hawaii for Candysdirt.com and SecondShelters.com, I’m off scouting interesting locations for a second home.  In 2016 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards. If you’re a Realtor with second home clients who’d like me to feature their journey, shoot me an email sharewithjon@candysdirt.com. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.

Hualalai Canoe Club | candysdirt.com

The Hualālai Canoe Club

News from the Hualālai Resort located on the Kona-Kohala Coast of Hawai‘i Island: The posh oceanfront hotel and private home community resort anchored by a five diamond Four Seasons on The Big Island just completed a multimillion dollar renovation of a key amenity, the Hualālai Canoe Club. Co-owned by Michael Dell, Hualālai Resort has attracted a who’s who of homeowners, including such business titans as Citadel founder Ken Griffin, Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, Charles Schwab, Howard Schultz, and Bob Parsons, and continues to experience strong sales.

Real estate ownership options among more than 300 homes include single-family homes, home sites, and villas, ranging from $2 million to $30 million. Hualālai Club Membership is available exclusively to property owners and offers access to two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf, each with its own clubhouse; the award-winning Hualālai Sports Club and Hualālai Spa; the Hualālai Canoe Club; the Hualālai Tennis Club; and a residents’ beach house. Membership also provides access to all amenities at Four Seasons Hualālai Resort. In an oceanfront setting of pristine white sand beaches and black lava landscapes, the hotel offers 243 guest rooms and suites housed in intimate two-story bungalows.

Here’s a look at what’s new and a home in this luxe resort community:

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Coastline and mountain views from the pool

On a drive up to Turtle Bay for a disappointing lunch at Roy’s Beach Shack, I drove right past 55-249A Kamehameha Highway in Laie on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.  I drove past, because from the road, the home is nearly invisible, tucked into its own oceanfront pocket tropical forest on about two-thirds of an acre.

The home just popped on the market with Erik Hinshaw of Hawai’i Life Real Estate. Readers will recall it was Hinshaw who showed me around the $71 million in penthouse “porn” you read about earlier in January.  During that visit we got to talking about this property.  But enough dish, here are the specs: it’s a 2004-built home with three bedrooms and three bathrooms totaling 2,464 square feet of living space and is being offered for $2.4 million.

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