A Haven in the Heights – Koko Kai
While the various neighborhoods of the new Hawaii Kai community continued to spread throughout the valleys and up the hillsides in the1960s, vacant land on the slopes of Koko Head across the highway remained undeveloped until the 1970s. However, Portlock on the western coast of the peninsula had been a well established neighborhood since the 1930s, and this was where Henry Kaiser built his own residence. The sprawling “Kaiser Estate,” which has since been subdivided several times, was located at the end of Porlock Road where it later morphed into Hanapepe Loop.
With the exception of the kamaaina Portlock community and a few fisherman’s retreats, Koko Head remained primarily vacant land until the early 1970s. Over the next two decades two large tracts of land that became The Triangle and Koko Kai were subdivided and infrastructure created by developers who had been active on Kauai…hence, the naming of streets for Kauai geographical locations.
The Triangle was developed on primarily level land as a neighborhood with mostly 10,000-square-foot lots and moderately priced homes. Koko Kai, with lots ranging from 10,000 square feet to almost an acre for the cliff-front properties, was planned from its inception as an upscale neighborhood. The infrastructure was designed to ensure that virtually all homes to be built on the rocky lower slopes of Koko Head would overlook the ocean, southeastern Oahu coastline, Diamond Head, and sunsets.
Initially, only vacant lots were available for purchase. Homes built within the Koko Kai community were required to be architect-designed and over a specified square footage. Current CC&R’s establish greater setbacks and lower building heights than City and County standards. Koko Kai shares a Community Association and Neighborhood Watch with the Triangle.
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties Realtor Maggie Walker, a long-time resident of Koko Kai and previously the Triangle, has recently listed a Lumahai Street home she describes as “comfortably elegant” for $2,250,000.
“This home has been owned by the same family since the development of Koko Kai in the early seventies,” Walker said. “The original owners made it a point to choose a site with the best views available at the time. Their architect Irv Thomas & Assoc., along with contractor Mel Cummings, designed and oriented the structure so nearly all rooms would look out over the ocean, coast, and Diamond Head. There is no better vantage point to watch the sun setting behind Diamond Head across Maunalua Bay. You can even check out the Portlock surf breaks.
“All the spaces are large and flowing and the ceilings are high. The kitchen is spacious and bright with ocean views. Some rooms, including the family room and living room, open to the upper lanai, while the downstairs bedroom and recreation room open to a large, mostly covered swimming pool patio area which provides additional space for dining and entertaining.
“There are many luxury additions, such as an enormous wine cellar and a dry sauna. The home has four bedrooms, with potential for a fifth, three full baths, and two half-baths. The 545-square-foot garage has direct access to the house through the kitchen, and the large, paved driveway provides space for an additional three or four vehicles.
“To me, it is wonderful to enjoy the peace and quiet of this special neighborhood while all the amenities of Hawaii Kai are just across the highway, mere minutes away,” she added. 76 Lumahai Street is being shown by appointment and at open houses. For information contact Maggie Walker (R) at 808-294-4664 or e-mail email@example.com. Co-listor Mahealani Perkins (RA) can be reached at 808-368-1569 or e-mail maheap@ cbpacific.com. An open house will be held this Sunday, June 16, from 2 to 5 p.m.