Kroc Center – The West Oahu Community Takes Shape
Realizing the Ingredients for Educational, Recreational, and Commercial Opportunities
On a late Friday afternoon on April 27th, 37 ULI members attended a tour and lively presentation of some of the exciting developments in West Oahu. These developments, the Kroc Center, UH West Oahu, DHHL projects, and the Makana Ali`i mixed use retail/office complex illustrate how the area is blooming as a community that is creating all the elements needed to promote the health, education, economic prosperity, and social needs of area residents.
The day started with a tour led by Bram Begonia of the truly impressive and brand new KROC Center Hawaii in Kapolei. The Center is a $133 million, 200,000 square foot community complex that opened in February 2012, and sports some of the most state-of-the-art facilities in Hawaii. The Center was developed by the Salvation Army and was made possible by a grant by Joan Kroc, wife of the founder of McDonalds, as well as community contributions of $23 million. Services provided, such as world-class sports facilities, art and music classes, as well as a place for religious gatherings are the result of community surveys of what area residents wanted. ULI members were tempted to “get wet” in the spectacular water slide after they toured the Olympic-sized swimming pool and water play grounds, the well equipped health center, the Jack Lord Worship Center, basketball/multi-purpose courts, dormitory, game room, meeting rooms and child care areas.
The Center offers exceptionally low priced plans for families, and offers facilities and activities that are often missing in schools and neighborhoods in the area.
The tour was followed by a presentation by Michele Kauhane of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands who covered DHHL’s program objectives to serve the housing needs of Hawaiians. Projects discussed included an award winning LEED project in Waianae that brought a new level of cooperation and community pride to owners in that development.
Kalowena Komeiji of UH-West Oahu gave a preview of the soon-to-be-completed West Oahu campus which will be open to its first class in August 2012, with centers of excellence in environmental studies, allied health, creative media and teacher education. A highlight of the UH West Oahu activities is the university’s commitment to increase the rate of area children going on to higher education through outreach programs, counselor programs in local schools, and application and study help at the collage level if needed.
Emile Alano and Lee Sichter discussed plans for Ka Makana Ali’i, a DeBartolo regional development to be adjacent to the KROC Center. This mixed use commercial, entertainment, office and hotel and will be synergistically linked to serve the surrounding communities.
Each of these projects brings a different, but vital part to the growing West Oahu community, including housing, jobs, commerce, education and recreation, and is a prime example of the kinds of communities championed by ULI to create thriving communities.