The Resort Lifestyle – Gold Coast
The unique Honolulu neighborhood known as “The Gold Coast” is essentially a half-mile strip of ocean-front properties, primarily highrise residences, between Waikiki and Diamond Head. The sixteen condominium and co-op apartment buildings, several single family homes, two hotels, and two private clubs with upper Kalakaua Avenue addresses constitute a distinctive and exclusive enclave of some of Hawaii’s most valuable real estate. New York City has its Park Avenue, San Francisco has its Nob Hill, and Honolulu has its Gold Coast.
Prior to the late 1950s when high-rise development began gathering momentum throughout the Waikiki area, the Gold Coast was occupied by single family homes and beach cottages, some the primary residences of kamaaina families. Most were razed to make way for new structures, such as the estates of the Castle family, now the site of the Elks and Outrigger Canoe Clubs. The “Castles” surf break was named for this kamaaina family, one of many who made the Gold Coast their home during the early to mid 1900s. The architecturally distinguished homes that have survived are now included in a special historic district.
By the end of the 60s, all available parcels were developed and the Gold Coast had acquired its present skyline. Currently a new evolution is under way with the renovation and restructuring of residences in the buildings made possible by changes in the policies of owners associations together with the need to upgrade to meet new buyer requirements. Over the past four decades, Gold Coast condos and co-ops have been restructured into new and mixed uses and ownership bases, but until recently have remained fairly static with regard to their interior layouts. Only within the past decade have extensive renovations been possible, and only recently have they reached the point where the area could be described as undergoing a renaissance. Owner/
occupant buyers and investors, recognizing the enduring value of these properties, are acquiring entire floors and converting multiple apartments into a single, luxurious layout.
Due to recent zoning restrictions, a neighborhood such as the Gold Coast could never be duplicated.
Among the Gold Coast’s 16 high-rises, the 21-story Colony Surf has remained one of the most prestigious addresses over the 58 years years since it was completed. One of the largest of the buildings with 172 units, it includes the award-winning Michel’s restaurant on the ground floor, a front desk in the lobby, and direct access to a wide, sandy beach. Kapiolani Park with tennis courts and picnic areas is across Kalakaua Avenue. Realtor Mary Worrall of List Sotheby’s International Realty has listed an extensively remodeled, and tastefully furnished 1,540-square-foot corner residence on the 28th floor for $2,850,000. The current owner converted the original two bedroom apartment into a one bedroom, two bath unit to enhance the spacious main living/dining area, which offers panoramic views of the ocean, Diamond Head, the Waikiki coastline, surf breaking on the reef, and spectacular sunsets.
Worrall, who has represented buyers and sellers in numerous transactions on the Gold Coast over the years, including the Colony Surf developer’s penthouse, commented, “The Gold Coast is more than just a prestigious address, it’s a lifestyle. The people who live here have a sense of community… they get together on the beach and in the park…I see them walking their dogs, heading out for a tennis game, or for a jog around Diamond Head. They meet for lunch or dinner and entertain friends at Michel’s, the Kaimana Hotel’s Hau Tree Lanai, and the private clubs. The Gold Coast is essentially a neighborhood that offers many of the features and conveniences of a resort. There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else in Hawaii.”
Worrall is showing the Colony Surf residence by appointment.