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Buying To Build – Pupukea

View of ocean and Kaena Point from home in Pupukea’s Sunset Hills. Photo by Tracy Cabot

Fourth 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.

Although the North Shore’s great beaches are what attract most buyers to the area, the inland countryside offers equally appealing options, particularly when open space and privacy are priorities.

The forested foothills of the Waianae Range with its prisitine valleys, plateaus and tablelands account for the dominant portion of the lands available at any given time for residential or agricultural use.

Richard Sterman, owner and Principal Broker of Sterman Realty in Haleiwa, noted that large landholders, including corporations such as Dole that have held the majority of the ag land for as much as 100 years, are making portions of their properties available to individual farmers. “This is a major shift that has great potential for our small farmers and our community sustainability. It supports our mission to ‘keep it country.’ From Kahuku to Haleiwa and from Waialua to Wahiawa, dozens of parcels ranging from 5 to 20 acres have been sold to independent farmers, many of whom supply our local farmers markets.”

Sterman Realty Realtor Chaney Padaca has listed a residential property in Pupukea, a neighborhood that has succeeded in retaining its rural atmosphere within the framework of a large Country zoned subdivision. Its approximately 500 lots are each a minimum of one acre in size. Many have ocean and mountain views, others are situated in a forest setting or surrounded with flower and vegetable gardens. A number of working farms produce avocados, citrus, flowers, and a variety of vegetables.

Pupukea includes four major subsections, Pupukea Highlands Phases One and Two, Greentree Estates, and Sunset Hills, which are accessed from Kamehameha Highway by way of Pupukea Road. The first were developed in the 1950s and 1960s, and some still have their original “Protective Covenants” in place, preserving the rural ambiance of this unique neighborhood which rises from a bluff approximately 325 feet above the highway to approximately 650 feet above sea level. To the south is Waimea Valley; to the north and west are large tracts of Conservation land and a 101-acre Paumalu Ranch agricultural parcel consisting of two large lots that go to auction March 25.

Padaca’s listing in Pupukea is a 1.07-acre level vacant lot priced at $525,000. Located at 59-598 Akanoho Place, it was previously occupied by a house that burned in the late 1980s. “Utilities are on the property, which is level,” Padaca said. “The land is overgrown, but it includes mature fruit trees, including mango and avocado. A home built here could have a view of the ocean.” A resident of the North Shore whose husband is a professional surfer, Padaca noted that there are many builders in the area who could provide proposals.

Author Tracy Cabot “found her paradise” in Pupukea in 1998 after several years of traveling around the islands, primarily on assignment for travel publications but also with a view to buying after selling a home in Los Angeles. “I had completed six books and worked as a therapist while living in LA, and it was time for a big change. My husband Marshall Whitfield was a dedicated surfer, and I was looking for quiet and privacy to continue writing, so Pupukea was a natural choice. There were and still are many empty lots, but the one we liked in Sunset Hills had an older home on it which we rearranged and remodeled so every room would have a view. Do I see any disadvantages to living in Pupukea…it takes an hour to get to Honolulu and there are roosters, but otherwise it offers the kind of Hawaiian-style country living we had dreamed about back in LA.”

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