Hale Nanea condo gets council nod

A Hualalai Road condominium project for middle-income families could break ground in two months and have its first units ready within three years, following a favorable vote Tuesday by the County Council Planning Committee.

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A Hualalai Road condominium project for middle-income families could break ground in two months and have its first units ready within three years, following a favorable vote Tuesday by the County Council Planning Committee.

The 92-unit Hale Nanea Condominiums will be built on 6.3 vacant acres, located about 1,000 feet mauka of the intersection with Kuakini Highway, on the south side.

The project, which has floundered since the early 2000s, was purchased in 2013 by Kukui Development LCC, the California-based company whose recent Hawaii work includes Trump Hotel Waikiki.

“Thank you for taking up this project, which was a broken project,” Puna Councilman Dan Paleka told the developer.

Kukui Development is asking for a 10-year time extension in order to secure the financing. The financing has already been approved, provided the development gets the extension to help guarantee the project, said owner and manager George Baker.

“My lenders are in place, ready to go,” Baker told the committee.

The time extension, Bill 91, now goes to two readings of the council after the 9-0 vote in committee Tuesday.

Baker said the $32 million project will be built in two phases, with 44 units first and then the remaining units after the first ones are sold.

The project will feature a series of two- and three-bedroom condos set in four-unit and eight-unit configurations. The two-story buildings will be served by a pool and spa, pavilion area and landscaping that incorporates the Kuakini Wall and archaeological features. The living area of the units will range from 1,160 to 1,339 square feet.

The dwellings will be priced from $395,000 to $429,000, Baker said.

The developer must widen and improve Hualalai Road where it abuts the property, adding sidewalks, gutters and other safety features.

Committee members also asked the developer for assurances that archaeological features on the site are being protected. Recent fires, reportedly caused by transients and squatters, have resulted in the Fire Department bulldozing sections of the land.

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“There are significant archaeological sites on this place,” said Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha. “This place is supposed to be protected.”

Versions of Hale Nanea go back at least to a 2001 final plan approval. A 2005 zoning change converted the land from resort and hotel and agricultural zoning to multi-family residential. An early version of the plan called for 80 units housed in four-story buildings on 2.4 acres.

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