Future Our Kaka‘ako residents share hopes and neighborly advice.
Text by James Charisma | Images by John Hook
Although some of the biggest developments seen so far in Kaka‘ako have been commercial, new residential towers and apartment complexes are on the way. These buildings represent an opportunity to enjoy the area not just as a visitor, shopper, and diner, but also as a neighbor. Living within them will offer not only convenience, but also a collaborative community. Here, two local property buyers share why they are making the move to Our Kaka‘ako, their excitement about what’s to come, and a bit of neighborly advice.
“My wife and I currently live in Kapahulu, and we were looking for a place to buy because we’ve got a growing family,” says Jason Jeremiah, senior manager of cultural resources at Kamehameha Schools Land Assets Division. “We both wanted to live in town, where everything could be so central.”
Although Jeremiah and his wife, Jeannin, wanted to move to Kaka‘ako, they assumed that any affordable units would quickly sell out. So when their realtor mentioned that properties at 400 Keawe were still available, they promptly moved to secure a space. This mixed-use project at the corner of Keawe and Auahi streets will have nearly 100 two- and three-bedroom condo units, which are priced in the low $500,000s, and will be ready for move-in December 2015.
“We especially like the intimacy of 400 Keawe,” says Jeremiah. “At six stories high, it’s more of a human scale than some of the larger towers going up.” Jeremiah knows quite a bit about where 400 Keawe will stand. In fact, he managed the team that surveyed the site.
“A lot of my work is about finding out what’s underneath, the history,” Jeremiah says. “Under [400 Keawe], there were a lot of old bottles and the foundation for the old Honolulu Ironworks foundry. It was a time when the neighborhood shifted from residential to industrial. In many ways, we’re coming full-circle.”
Jeremiah’s neighborly advice: “My wife is Italian and grew up in Sicily, so when it comes to sauces for pasta or otherwise, she definitely prefers to make her own. Nothing in jars from the store; she goes to farmers markets and picks up tomatoes, basil, garlic, and other ingredients.”
For Edward Jones financial advisor James Ka, a move to Our Kaka‘ako is a matter of being close to what’s important. When he first arrived in the islands from Orange County, California, Ka worked out of a building near Don Quixote. In January 2014, he relocated to an office in Kaka‘ako. “Whether you own a restaurant or a store or another kind of business, there are lots of opportunities here,” he says.
Ka recently purchased property at Keauhou Place, located at South and Pohukaina streets, an upcoming 43-floor high-rise apartment with 388 units ranging from one to three bedrooms that start in the $400,000s. It is slated for completion in summer 2017. Amenities will include a gym, a swimming pool, a children’s play area, a “secret” garden, and barbecue spaces. A half-dozen restaurant and retail tenants will open for business on the ground floor alongside a pedestrian walkway and park, and the entire property will be next to a HART rail station site.
“As a business owner, I’m thankful to be able to live nearby where I’ve opened my office,” Ka says. “I’m hoping that as more residents and visitors continue to arrive, there’ll be more businesses, more things to do in the neighborhood, and this community will really develop. It’s great to be here and have an opportunity to see that growth.”
Ka’s neighborly advice: “I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream when cooking, which is great for Mexican food or baking. Also, if you add a lemon wedge to the water when you boil eggs, the shells are easier to peel off.”