One of O'ahu's newest and most hyped communities is Kaka'ako, which is located on the South shore of O'ahu in the heart of Honolulu. This neighborhood sits between the Ala Moana Center, downtown Honolulu, and the Pacific Ocean. Just under 2 miles long, Kaka'ako is not only directly in the center of town, but in itself has its own grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment- All of which can be easily accessed on foot, by bicycle, or by public transit. The entire area of Kaka'ako focuses on a live-work-play concept, so there is no shortage of activities to enjoy.
Kaka'ako has a very rich history beginning with Native Hawaiian fishing villages, large salt flats, and fish ponds. Historically a residential community for a diverse mixture of immigrant workers, the community transitioned to an industrial and commercial region in the mid-1900s housing the Honolulu Ironworks, a large servicer for the local sugar mill and shipping industries.
Today, Kaka'ako development is a community governed by the Hawai'i Community Development Authority (HCDA). The more popular areas of Kaka'ako are identified by 2 major sections; Ward Village and West Kaka'ako. Ward Village on the Eastern end is a master-planned community developed by the Howard Hughes Corporation, while West Kaka'ako features a mixture of developers including A&B Properties, Castle & Cooke, and Stanford Carr.
West Kaka'ako, sometimes referred to as Our Kaka'ako, includes numerous residential condos. The median price of West Kaka'ako properties is between $1.1 million to $1.2 million, where you have a mixture of sizes from 3-bedroom condominiums measuring over 1,100 square feet to single-occupant studios closer to 400 square feet.
Arguably the most up-and-coming neighborhood, there were many new condominiums constructed in the last handful of years, including 400 Keawe, The Collection, Keauhou Place, and Keauhou Lane, with even more on the horizon like Ililani, which has just begun construction. Prior to the revitalization of the neighborhood, there were already many other condos like the twin Waterfront Towers, and further on the edge of West Kaka'ako are Honuakaha, Keola La'i, Imperial Plaza, Royal Capital Plaza, and 801 South.
Each building here is very different in look and feel, amenity offerings, and sizes. As a result, prices can really vary as well. With over 4,000 living units in just this portion of Kaka'ako, someone looking for a home here should make sure they are advised by a realtor with experience.
The West Kaka'ako neighborhood is a stunning area, with open sidewalks, a couple of parks, and a basketball court at Mother Waldron, plus toward the ocean is Kaka'ako Waterfront Park, a 35-acre park with rolling green hills perfect for cardboard sliding. Adjacent to the park is a Children's Discovery Center, where kids can learn and dream. There is also amazing street art by local artists that brighten up the streets and give West Kaka'ako a distinctive vibe.
SALT At Our Kaka'ako, named after historic salt flats, is a new community of popular restaurants, bars, retail stores, and more. Enjoy Hawaiian food and live music at the Highway Inn, a lilikoi foam-topped mai tai at Moku's Kitchen, a cup of joe at one of the several coffee shops, watch your favorite ball games with friends at Pitch Sports Bar, or pick up some meat for a whole meal at Butcher & Bird. Retail clothing stores include Kahala, surf shops Milo and Stoke House, and a few more. My wife loves to buy plants at Paiko, and if you're a film photographer, visit my friend Bobby at Treehouse for some great products for enthusiasts and artists.
Cross the street and you'll hit even more great restaurants and coffee shops, like Down to Earth and H-Mart for Asian products. Unique places like Blade & Timber will allow you to drink a beer and then throw a sharp axe at targets.
Often holding open markets and events, West Kaka'ako is a great place to spend your time. It's not uncommon to see many residents with dogs on leashes since the majority of condominiums are pet-friendly. SALT is also home to the famous Honolulu Night Market, Honolulu's monthly block party filled with food trucks and live entertainment.
If you're just visiting (or even if you are a resident of the area), there are several Biki stations around the neighborhood for bike sharing during the day. Parking is also easier with metered stalls and a couple of parking structures with vendors that validate.
Ward Village is a fully planned community being developed by the Howard Hughes Corporation, a large developer that has extensive experience across multiple states in the U.S.
What is a planned community? This means that all of the restaurants, stores, parks, and amenities are thoughtfully selected by the developer, and the neighborhood is designed with every other counterpart in mind. This has contributed to the consistent and uniform aesthetic of Ward Village.
From roughly Ward Avenue through almost Piikoi Street, Ward Village was previously the Victoria Ward Center, where shops, restaurants, and entertainment already existed. Today, it's a mixture of some older but mostly brand-new structures, including 5 completed towers, 5 more being sold or already pre-sold, and up to 10 more being released. There are a handful of older towers that existed prior to the Ward Village master plan just East of the community, and these units are still quite popular due to the slightly more affordable price point compared to the new towers being constructed.
The median price of studios and 1-bedrooms in this region of Kaka'ako is roughly $760,000, while the median for 2- and 3-bedrooms is closer to $1.3 million. In this section of Kaka'ako, however, it's not uncommon to see some units selling between the $2 million to $6 million range. With nearly 15 existing towers and possibly 10 more on the horizon, a seasoned expert on this neighborhood is definitely recommended.
The neighborhood has a few existing parks that break up the neighborhood, and it's also not uncommon to see outdoor yoga classes or dogs and children running about. This section of Kaka'ako is much closer to an actual beach at Ala Moana Beach Park, located just across the street. Ala Moana Beach Park is one of O'ahu's largest parks with tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, Sandy Beach, and a protected basin with calm water for swimming and paddleboarding.
Ward Village is likewise home to the Ward Theater (arguably the most popular movie destination), Dave & Busters, Whole Foods' multi-level flagship store, and a wide variety of bars, new restaurants, coffee shops, and more. The restaurant scene here is diverse, including names like Merrimans, and for large, fun parties, Buca di Beppo is also an option.
The East Village is a large block including Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, and the South Shore Market, an indoor mini-mall with many locally-owned retail stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. For fitness buffs, Core Power Yoga or the Island Club & Spa are also great options.
Not to mention, this area also is home to the historic IBM building, which was developed by American architect Vladimir Ossipoff. This iconic site currently serves as the headquarters for the Howard Hughes Corporation.
If all of this is still not enough, the Ala Moana Shopping Center is less than half a mile away.
Ward Village has 2,500 free parking stalls in total, which includes electric vehicle charging stations. Bus lines and tourist trollies also come right through the area, making this a tourist destination, as well.
With nearly 18 years of real estate experience, James is at the top of his craft and prides himself in thorough education, vast market knowledge, and truly helping his clients build wealth through real estate.