Pulelehua Offers Hope for West Maui Housing Crisis

Pulelehua Housing Development

In the wake of the devastating fire in Lahaina, a housing crisis has emerged as one of the single biggest post-fire challenges for the people of Maui. The island is home to a variety of people, most of whom are working-class permanent residents who are the backbone of the tourism industry that support Maui's local economy. As Maui addresses the housing crisis, the need for affordable housing grows as well.

Population growth coupled with a very limited supply of land has driven real estate prices upward. This has made it difficult for many working-class residents to find an affordable place to call home. Currently, a section of the planned community is being utilized as a temporary location for King Kamehameha Schools. 

While many of the newest residential developments on West Maui, such as Lanikeha or Mahana Estates, appeal to luxury-minded developers and buyers, Pulelehua stands apart as being designed primarily with our local residents our mind. Pulelehua, meaning 'butterfly' in Hawaiian, will be a master-planned community conveniently located in Kahana near the Kapalua small-craft airport. Specifically, it sits between Ka’anapali and Napili on the Honoapiilani Highway. This is an open corridor of the highway that provides easy access in both directions. As a community that is still in development, the prospect of seeing Pulelehua completed is exciting. 

About the Pulelehua Master-Planned Community 

Pulelehua Maui

Pulelehua spans 304 acres in an ideal location. The community will feature both residential homes and commercial spaces with expansive ocean views from many locations. The developers have specifically planned the community to take advantage of the island’s natural beauty with minimal disruption to the ecosystem. In fact, more than 25% of the land will be open spaces that have been beautifully landscaped. 

With seven miles of jogging and hiking trails, this is a walkable community that embraces the natural environment. Residents can also take advantage of a 10-acre multi-sports park for outdoor recreation with family and neighbors in their free time. There are also various pocket parks that support outdoor fun for families close to home. 

Including Education and Infrastructure For Residents

Aerial Photo of Kahana near Pulelehua

This community will also have an elementary school and numerous retail amenities for residents to take advantage of on-site. Plus, with a state-of-the-art water treatment system for potable water, the community is designed for conservation. Water conservation is a key factor as many areas of the island have been under drought conditions for years. 

Beautiful and Affordable Pulelehua Homes

Pulelehua Maui Homes 

The community will hopefully become home to approximately 1,000 residences for local families with various property types represented. The available properties include single-family lots as well as both affordable and market-rate rental homes. Ohanas and townhomes are also available. Parking is often in short supply in West Maui, and the developers have carefully designed the community to address this challenge. Ample parking is provided throughout the community. This includes both guest and drive-up parking for each of the homes. 

The single-family homes and multi-family units are beautifully styled to correspond with modern local design. The structures are complementary to each other, and the multi-family units have been recognized as an award-winning prototype. The commercial areas will have equally lovely designs.

The development offers incentives for the local residents who take advantage of the affordable or market-rate rental homes to move toward becoming homeowners within the community. These homes serve the local workforce by providing quality housing at fair prices and in an ideal location for commuting to nearby jobs. These incentives will enable many people who otherwise could not afford to purchase a home on the island to eventually do so.

Phase 1A of this master-planned community includes 100 townhouses. These townhouses will be offered for sale at between 60% to 120% of the median income in the area. Additional pricing caps will apply to properties in other phases to ensure that the homes continue to be affordable for local residents. 

Pulelehua Commercial Areas 

Pulelehua Housing West Maui

The community’s developers have allocated a large commercial space in one section for both retail shops and entertainment venues. The idea is for residents to have convenient access to products and services without having to leave the community and fight traffic on busy city roads.

The specific businesses for the community have not yet been announced, but they will be carefully selected to provide residents with a well-rounded group of venues. An elementary school will also be built in the community for the convenience of families with young children. Maui Nui Resiliency Hui are supporting the efforts. 

About Maui Oceanview LP 

Maui Oceanview LP is a Texas-based development company headed by Paul Sau-Ki Cheng, and it is responsible for bringing this much-needed and affordable community to life. In 2023, the company received $18 million in county funding to build the first 60 residential units with the agreement that Cheng would focus on affordable housing for the island's hardworking residents. 

The first phase of the project is well underway, and Maui Oceanview LP has now asked for an additional $50 million from the government to continue the project's development. These funds will speed up the construction of this much-needed project. Specifically, it would be applied to build out the infrastructure for the next phase, including water, power and sewer lines. 

If the latest request for money is approved, Cheng has stated that many of the market-rate homes in the community will be given to fire survivors and long-time residents. In addition, the project was initially planned to be completed over a 10-year time period. However, the funds may allow the project to be completed in only five years, and this is urgently needed to meet the critical housing need created by the fires. In the meantime, Cheng has agreed for FEMA to use 10 acres of the property for portable housing for fire victims. 

Cheng Has Developed on Maui Before

Prior to working on this development, Cheng developed Maalaea Harbor Shops. He acquired the popular retail and restaurant center in 2015 at a cost of $13.4 million. He purchased the land that would later become Pulelehua a year later, and he spent several years negotiating with the county on the community's building plans. 

Come Back Often For Updates on Pulelehua

Since the project is still under development it isn't completely certain when the homes will be ready to be purchased or occupied. I will be updating this page regularly to keep you posted on any updates I come across. At this time there is no lottery or offerings for sales, but when there are, I will be updating the page and providing any resources I can. Here's hoping they can expedite the building of Pulelehua and bring quality housing for the people of West Maui.

Get In Touch!

Evan Harlow Maui

Evan Harlow is a Realtor on Maui who has the expertise, experience, and work ethic to help you achieve all of your real estate buying or selling goals. We promise exceptional service and support from the beginning of the process through closing and beyond.

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