289-unit luxury Wailea community planned

289-unit luxury Wailea community plannedA developer is proposing a 289-unit luxury community of homes and vacation rentals in Wailea. MUNEKIYO HIRAGA graphic

A developer is ramping up efforts to build on land acquired from Alexander & Baldwin, unveiling plans for a new 289-unit luxury community in Wailea just mauka of a 75-condo development that’s already on the market.

Wailea Resort Phase 2 Development LLC is proposing 51 zero lot line homes, 92 town home/duplex homes and 146 multifamily units — of which an estimated 23 will be vacation rentals — on 46.2 acres of land, according to project plans.

The project would include a 63,000-square-foot amenity center for a general store and offices, barbecue facilities, a swimming pool, fitness center, game room, private and outdoor dining and other community gathering spaces. A proposed cultural and community space would be designed for local culture and art.

A two-volume draft environmental assessment for the Wailea Resort SF-7A/MF-12/MF-13 Residential Project was published Sunday in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s “The Environmental Notice.”

According to the report, the $315 million project would take an estimated seven years to build after permits are received; the developer anticipates starting construction in 2022.

Homes are expected to sell for an average of $1.75 million and bring in about 545 residents — 90 percent part time and 10 percent full time. The units would range in size from about 2,000 to just over 4,000 square feet, with a lanai and garage for each and pools included in most floor plans.

Thirteen of the vacation rentals would be located in a standalone building, while the other 10 would be placed in the amenity center and scaled down to about 975 square feet each.

A&B Wailea LLC currently owns the vacant parcel, which the developer plans to buy. The site is bordered by Okolani Drive to the north, the Wailea Blue Golf Course to the west, Piilani Highway to the east and the Wailea Gateway Center to the south.

Maui County property tax map records and the state business database show that Wailea Resort Phase 2 Development LLC is connected to Ledcor Group, an employee-owned, diversified construction company that started in 1947, according to Paul Woodward, senior vice president of the company’s development arm, Ledcor Development.

Ledcor Development is active in two Canadian provinces — British Columbia and Alberta — and four U.S. states — Hawaii, California, Washington and Texas. The company first came to Maui in 2003 when it helped develop the Honua Kai Resort & Spa and recently finished its final phase, the Luana Garden Villas. Ledcor opened an office in Kihei about four years ago and has also done projects on Oahu and Hawaii island.

Ledcor says it has development rights on 135 acres from A&B, which currently leases some land to Ledcor and last year sold the company 42 acres of land and land improvements, residential workforce housing credits and associated developer rights in Wailea for $23.6 million.

In March, Ledcor began preselling condos in La’i Loa, a 75-unit development on 13 acres adjacent to the proposed 289-unit project. And, last month, it put forward plans for a 57-unit condominium project on 23.1 acres near Kilohana Park, less than a mile away from La’i Loa.

All are part of a “luxury residential enclave” known as The Wailea Hills Collection.

“We obviously started this well before the pandemic, and this is just kind of part of the planning process,” Woodward said of the recently proposed projects. “The sale and construction is so far down the road. . . . This is really part of planning for the future, not the next year or so.”

Woodward said that nearly 25 percent of the La’i Loa condos have been presold and that construction is anticipated to start in about 12 months.

Both of Ledcor’s recently proposed projects expect buyers to be 90 percent part-time. Woodward said that reflects the typical Wailea buyer demographic but that “our goal is to create the kind of development where more and more people call it their permanent home.”

When asked whether he expected those permanent residents to come from Maui or off island, Woodward said, “I think there’s both.”

“I think there’s current homeowners now that will perhaps look to downsize out of a larger home or move from one development to another,” he said. “I think there’s some people that may buy it for a second home for a short period of time, kind of pre-retirement, and make it their permanent home.”

He added that the pandemic has created the potential for buyers who may be working remotely and decide to move to Maui.

When asked why Ledcor is proposing vacation rentals at a time when the Maui County Council is mulling a bill to reduce short-term rental permits, Woodward said that having a mix of residents and visitors would make the amenities “sustainable” and allow for ongoing activities, such as fitness programs.

He said if there were strong opposition to the vacation rentals, “we’re always open to input.”

“We think there’s kind of a solid rationale for why it’s a benefit, but at the same time we also understand kind of the community concerns,” he said. “Although in the Wailea context, Wailea is kind of a resort zone.”

Woodward said the 57-unit and 289-unit projects “probably represent the next 10 years of development” and that Ledcor doesn’t have any other residential projects planned for the area at the moment.

The Maui Planning Commission will be tasked with reviewing the project once the environmental assessment process is done.

The project needs a special management area use permit, planned development step II and III approvals and a county special use permit, since it proposes up to 50 bedrooms of transient vacation rental use, exceeding the 20 bedrooms permitted in a community business zoning district.

To view the full draft assessment, visit oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/The_Environmental_Notice/2020-08-23-TEN.pdf.

Comments on the draft report are due by Sept. 22 and must be submitted to the approving agency, the Maui Planning Commission, by mail at 2200 Main St., One Main Plaza, Room 315, Wailuku 96793 or by contacting planner Tara Furukawa by phone at 270-7735 or by email at tara.furukawa@co.maui.hi.us.

The applicant and consultant should also be copied. Applicant Wailea Resort Phase 2 Development LLC can be reached by mail at 590 Lipoa Parkway, Suite 259, Kihei 96753 or by contacting Paul Woodward by phone at 829-4067 or by email at planning@munekiyohiraga.com.

Consultant Munekiyo Hiraga can be reached by mail at 305 High St., Suite 104, Wailuku, or by contacting Yukino Uchiyama by phone at 983-1233 or by email at planning@munekiyohiraga.com.

* Colleen Uechi can be reached at cuechi@mauinews.com.

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