“Although Dowsett is part of Upper Nuuanu, it’s actually a distinct neighborhood with its own special ambiance,” said Realtor Nancy Metcalf, a vice president of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties and Dowsett resident.
“When clients tell us they are looking for a home in the Dowsett neighborhood, we know they will not settle for a property that may be available elsewhere in Upper Nuuanu… they will wait for something to go on the market here.”
A member of a family that includes three generations of Realtors, all of whom grew up in the Dowsett area, Metcalf has handled numerous transactions in the neighborhood over the years and recently represented a former real estate colleague in the purchase of an estate she describes as “one of the most beautiful properties on the island, with lovely gardens, the Nuuanu Stream flowing through, and a stunning home on over six acres of land.”
She is currently listing a 17,184 square foot vacant lot on Kamuela Place in Dowsett Highlands for $800,000. “The lot and the adjacent home have been in the same family for many, many years. The lot has never been built on although utilities should be available, and it has never been on the market before. This is really a choice piece of property and a rare find in Dowsett. It offers not only privacy but beautiful views — ocean, mountains, forested Preservation land on two sides, and the Oahu Country Club Golf Course on the other side of Pali Highway. It’s a peaceful natural setting where the only sounds you hear are the forest birds.”
Metcalf noted that one of the features of the Dowsett Highlands area is the placement of utilities underground, not the case with lower portions of the neighborhood. However, the minimum lot size is 10,000 square feet throughout Dowsett, with the older homes generally occupying larger parcels. The neighborhood is a showcase of the work of prominent architects of the early and mid 1900s.
“Fortunately, many of the people who purchase here recognize the value of the classic homes that give the neighborhood its character and will opt to remodel and rebuild rather than knock down and replace. Several years ago I sold a home designed by one of our most celebrated architects, Hart Wood, to a prominent interior designer who has expanded the home from within, finding numerous places where opening a wall revealed sufficient space to add living area.
“My own home was built in 1928 by my grandparents. My grandfather worked at Bank of Hawaii in downtown Honolulu and favored the area, as many do, for its convenience to the business district…less than a ten minute drive. Typically, the older vintage homes are passed down through generations… often the younger members of a family will return to the family home and adapt it for multigenerational use. With their towering shade trees, flowering gardens, streams feeding natural waterfalls, these homes are treasures worthy of being preserved. It’s gratifying to sell a home to a buyer whose intention is to improve the home while retaining its original architectural style and detailing.”
Dowsett’s well maintained vintage homes have traditionally held their value; those located on larger view lots generally command in excess of one million. The highest priced Dowsett home currently on the market, a 5,415 square foot home on a 30,061 square foot lot, has been listed by Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties Realtor Kainoa Lee at $3,990,000.
The Dowsett neighborhood is named for a family that traces its lineage to Captain Samuel James Dowsett, a native of England, who settled in Honolulu in approximately 1828 and disappeared six years later on a voyage to the Pescadores Islands. His son, James Isaac Dowsett, became a prosperous businessman, engaging in whaling, lumber, shipping, and ranching, primarily on Oahu and Maui, until his death in 1898.