Foster Enterprises, a major player in residential and commercial real estate development and investment nationwide, undertook its first Hawaii developments in the early 1950s in the Moanalua district of Oahu. Then under the direction of founder T. Jack Foster, the company, in the late 1950s, started the process of formulating and implementing plans for its massive Foster City project in California, one of the largest and most successful of what were called the “new towns.”
Also, during the same period, T. Jack Foster & Sons, as it was then known, was laying the groundwork for development of its only Hawaii highrise, Foster Tower, originally a hotel property completed in 1962. Based in Foster City, the company is now run by second and third generations of Fosters. T. Jack Foster, Jr. recently published a book in which he explores and details the process of developing Foster City.
He notes that the availability of funding under the Title 9 Defense Housing Act for military rental housing during the late 1940s and early 1950s influenced the company’s decision to move forward with the West Honolulu projects.
“The company negotiated a lease on Damon Estate property in the Aliamanu Crater area of Moanalua that would eventually accommodate the construction of 1,000 homes. The neighborhood was developed between 1952 and 1956.On an adjoining parcel owned by Queen’s Hospital the company built the 500 single family homes that became Foster Village.
“During the post World War II years, we developed military housing primarily in the West and Midwest, generally subcontracting out the construction. As we got into building for the general market, we did our own construction. At the Foster Village subdivision, we hired one of Hawaii’s top architects, Richard Dennis AIA, to design the homes. Prices for the first new homes in Aliamanu started at $9,500, $14,000 to $15,000 in Foster Village.”
Typical of homes in Aliamanu is a property on Maluna Street listed by Scott Fujiwara, Principal Broker of Island, REALTORS, at $765,000. The three bedroom, two bath main house, built during the development of the subdivision, was originally a duplex later converted into a single family home by removing the interior separating wall and a kitchen. A secondary home with two bedrooms and two baths was added later and connects to the main house with a covered patio. The main house overlooks the city and Pearl Harbor, while the home to the rear has a view of Aliamanu Crater.
“Like many of the homes in Aliamanu, alterations were made over the years to upgrade and expand living spaces,” Fuji-wara said. “The property we are marketing was a true multigenerational home, but now the younger generation has decided to move on since they no longer have a need for the second home. So the property is perfect as is for multigenerational living or as an extended family compound. It’s well located in terms of access to schools, shopping, and bus transportation with Salt Lake Boulevard just a block away. The closest shopping is at Target or the Moanalua Shopping Center. Downtown Honolulu is only about a 15 minute drive, longer, of course, if traffic is heavy…but you have the option of taking the Freeway or Nimitz. It takes only about five minutes to get to the Airport or Pearlridge Center.
“The popularity of these West Honolulu neighborhoods continues to increase as convenience becomes a big priority for buyers…median sales prices for single family homes in the area reflect this. The proximity of schools, shopping, churches, and parks appeals to families, including military from the surrounding bases…they constitute about fifty percent of the attendees at our open houses.”