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Buying To Build – Kalihi Valley

11.44 acre vacant lot in Upper Kalihi.
11.44 acre vacant lot in Upper Kalihi.
Seventeenth in a series

Buyers in the market for a “piece of paradise” are often surprised to find that vacant land – even very large “pieces” – is available and at prices that look like a bargain in comparison to what similar offerings would command elsewhere. In this “Buying to Build” series, Realtors will comment on listings ranging from multi-acre parcels in the country and on the coast to small lots in city neighborhoods…what they will have in common is that all will offer development potential.

Vacant view property close to town in a rural setting at a reasonable price…sounds too good to be true, but such opportunities do come along occasionally in Kalihi Valley.

Buyers combing the Honolulu real estate market for a buildable lot for their custom home may find something that just fills the bill in Upper Kalihi, whether in the form of cleared land or a tear-down.

Kalihi is one of Oahu’s most diverse districts, with everything ranging from commercial properties and apartment buildings to multi-family and new and vintage single family homes. As an ancient Hawaiian ahupuaa, or land division, Kalihi extends from the ocean to the mountains, encompassing densely developed industrial

and commercial areas seaward and pristine forested land on the hillsides and deep in the valley.

Currently the price range for vacant lots in Upper Kalihi ranges from $300,000 for a 5,208 square foot lot on Kula Kolea Place to $1,800,000 for an 11.44 acre parcel at 3640 Kalihi Street.

Century 21 All Islands Realtor Joy Barnhart, who has listed the Kula Kolea Place lot, zoned R-5, noted that it is the only available, buildable vacant lot in the immediate vicinity, which has been entirely built out. “The owner has held onto this lot for a long time and finally decided to sell,” Barnhart said. “It’s a great opportunity for someone who wants to pick up a nice piece of property for a really good price, considering the location — close to downtown and a bus line — the zoning, and the availability of water and electricity. This property is actually priced below assessed value, and the seller is really motivated. According to the owner/seller, there are ocean views from the top of the sloping lot, which is currently overgrown. In my opinion it has great potential for someone who is ready for a new house and willing to put the effort into building their own home. One contractor has indicated that a new custom home could be built on this lot for about $400,000.”

A 7,610 square foot lot at 3081 Hokua Place has been listed by RE/MAX Honolulu Realtor Maxine Robson for $425,000. She noted that the home was removed in March of this year and the property cleared. “This property is priced below assessed value and has great potential,” Robson said. “It’s located at the end of the street in a quiet, wooded area. The property itself includes mature trees that enhance the sense of privacy. A home built here would have lovely mountain views and a country feel while enjoying convenient access to the Likelike Highway and downtown. Kalihi Uka Community Park and Elementary School are a few blocks away.”

At the other end of the price spectrum at $1.8 million is a unique property being marketed by Realtor Christy Aiwohi of Century 21 All Islands. Accessed by a private bridge that crosses over Likelike Highway, the property is located in an area with Preservation and Conservation zoning. According to the Realtor, approval from the Department of Land and Natural Resources would be required in order to build. Electricity is available but water would be by catchment.

“This is a beautiful, wooded property that could be developed as a private estate only five minutes away from downtown Honolulu,” Aiwohi said. “It is currently generating $3,000 a month in income from cellphone companies that utilize a portion of it for their signal. The bridge is actually a private road owned by the sellers but maintained by the state. There are currently three small cabins and a garage on the grounds, as well as avocado trees and native plants. The same kamaaina family has owned the land for many years.”

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