Neighborhood Spotlight: Kapolei

Kapolei is the fastest growing area in the state of Hawai‛i. With urban Honolulu approaching full build-out, state and county governments have designated Kapolei as “O‛ahu’s Second City,” and West O‛ahu’s hub for business, commerce, and government.

A master-planned community with almost 12,000 homes, condos and townhouses, the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting expects that number to be at least 50,000 by 2035.

Luckily, Kapolei is a thriving community, boasting wide streets and plenty of amenities for residents. The area features big-box stores, several shopping malls, restaurants, movie theaters, other recreational options, and county and state government offices. Anyone who lives and works in Kapolei will almost never need to drive into downtown Honolulu for anything.

Located just off the H-1 Freeway heading west on the way to Wai‛anae, Kapolei is 15 minutes from Pearl Harbor, 20 minutes from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, and 30 minutes from downtown Honolulu.

Whether you are looking to live in Kapolei, or you’re buying an investment rental property, Kapolei is a highly desirable area with plenty of growth potential.

History of Kapolei and its Growth

James Campbell was a 24-year-old Irish carpenter when he sailed to Hawai‛i in 1850 on a whaling ship. Campbell was to become one of Hawai‛i’s most famous business pioneers. Living much of his early life on Maui, he co-owned Pioneer Mill and later sold it, using the proceeds to buy large amounts of land on O‛ahu, Maui, and the Island of Hawai‛i.

His largest acquisition was 41,000 acres of dry ranch land on O‛ahu’s Ewa plain, which he bought for $95,000 in 1877. He drilled the first artesian well in Hawai‛i on this land, and uncovered a pure water reserve that transformed the arid land into a fertile sugar plantation.

Campbell set up a trust for his heirs, and in 1955 the James Campbell Estate issued a Master Plan detailing the transformation of the Ewa plain into a dynamic economic center. In 1958 the Estate opened the James Campbell Industrial Park, with Standard Oil Company as the first tenant. As early as 1977, the City and County of Honolulu had already designated this area to be O‛ahu’s “Second City,” and in 1990 the Campbell Estate finally broke ground on the City of Kapolei.

Rapid growth has taken place in Kapolei since 1990. Here are some notable developments that make Kapolei an ideal place to live and work:

Shopping – Several major shopping centers serve the Kapolei community, with large stores which include Home Depot, Target, Costco, Walmart, Ross, Macy’s, Office Max, Safeway, Foodland, and more.

Education – Kapolei Elementary, Middle, and High Schools serve the families of Kapolei. There is a growing contingent of private schools, including the Island Pacific Academy, which is a private college preparatory school. In 2012, University of Hawai‛i – West O‛ahu opened its doors in Kapolei and offers bachelor’s degrees in a wide range of academic majors. The University of Phoenix also has a presence in Kapolei.

Recreation – There’s plenty to do in and around Kapolei. Nearby white sand beaches are where the locals go for fun. The Ko Olina Resort and Marina, along with its four gorgeous lagoons, is Kapolei’s premier resort destination. At Ko Olina are also other resorts such as the Disney Aulani, Marriott Ihilani, and Four Seasons. Kapolei has several championship golf courses, the Wet ‘n Wild Hawai‛i Water Park, which features the Chief’s Luau, lots of green space at county parks, and several biking and hiking trails.

Kapolei golf club

Kapolei Golf Course. Photo courtesy of Kapolei Golf Club

Up and Coming in Kapolei

What does the future hold for Kapolei, aside from expanded housing development and growing neighborhoods?

The most consequential development will be the completion of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project, estimated to be finished by the end of 2025.

O‛ahu’s transportation system will expand when the 20-mile transit line connects Kapolei with downtown Honolulu. The raised-rail system has already started construction and will have five transit stations in the Kapolei area. The first half of the system will go from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium and should be finished by the end of 2020. Construction of the final 4.3-mile section through downtown Honolulu, which is expected to be the most difficult to build, has not yet started but is projected to be completed by the end of 2025.

Honolulu_Rail_Transit_First_Trainset_2017-02-18

Honolulu Rail Transit’s first rail car on display in Feb 2017.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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