Courtyard Views Designed into Kailua Condo Project / by Brian Kossen

Ironwoods Condominium, Kailua's largest new residential development, features 3 large courtyards to preserve open-air, local style look of Kailua.

Featured in The Honolulu Advertiser, Local News
By Mike Leidemann, Honolulu Advertiser

KAILUA — The Ironwoods condominium project planned for Kailua, the largest new residential development on the Windward side in years, will feature four-story buildings built around three large courtyards visible from the street, according to developers.

The courtyards, each with an island theme, are meant in part to address community concerns about preserving an open-air, local-style look in the area adjacent to a rapidly changing downtown Kailua, said Bob Bruhl, vice president of O'ahu development for D.R. Horton Schuler.

"One of the main concerns we got in our discussions with community members was what the streetscape would look like," Bruhl said. "So we came up with something that wouldn't just be a wall facing the street."

Not everyone approves of the design, though.

"It still doesn't fit the character of Kailua. It looks more like Hawai'i Kai," said Donna Wong, head of the Kailua Neighborhood Board's planning, zoning and environmental committee. "Even if it's got courtyards, a wall is still a wall."

Wong said she still hopes the developer will modify the project to fit into an old-time neighborhood feel that some people feel is threatened by commercial modernization and development in the nearby business area.

Neighborhood Board chairwoman Kathy Bryant-Hunter said the design discussion is part of a larger debate in the community over rapid change.

"It's easier to say what you don't want than what you do want," she said. "Most people like the look of the new Kalapawai Cafe, but there are other buildings that look more like Southern California. Design-wise, I hear from more people who like the direction things are going, but they still want to be kept informed and have a chance to offer feedback on new projects."

D.R Horton Schuler plans to move forward with its Ironwood project later this year after the last of the tenants still living in older apartments on the Kailua Road site have left, Bruhl said.

Architect Matthew Goykey of Green Sand Inc. came up with the courtyard theme that gives all of the condominiums a view of the interior garden spaces, which will include Hawaiian plantings, coconut trees and open grass areas. People walking by on Kailua Road also will be able to see into the courtyards through low fences.

Once the last existing tenants move out, the company will begin capping 74 old cesspools on the property that have been ordered closed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The new condominiums will be connected to a new sewer system, which the city plans to begin work on later this month.

Construction of the condominiums is expected to begin in summer of 2008. The design will feature three floors of residential units built atop one floor of partially underground parking, keeping the project below the 40-foot building height limit in the area, Bruhl said.

Wong said some people still object to the four-story height of the new complex. "When you look from mauka to makai, they are going to stand out above all the other buildings in the area," she said.

In all, there will be 153 condominiums, with 18 three-bedroom and 27 one-bedroom units. The rest of the units will have two bedrooms. Prices are expected to be comparable with condominiums in the area currently selling between $400,000 and $800,000, Bruhl said.

"I wish they had been required to provide some affordable housing in the project," Wong said. "It's the perfect location for it."

Outgoing board member Faith Evans said others want more information before giving the project their full blessing.

"It seems aesthetically pleasing, but we want to make sure it's in line with the rest of what's happening in Kailua," Evans said. "We haven't approved it yet."

Neighborhood Board approval is not required for the project. D.R. Horton Schuler already has the needed zoning and most of the permits to proceed.


Construction to begin: Summer 2008

Design: Three floors of residential units, partially underground parking

Number of units: 153 one- to three-bedroom condominiums

Prices: Expected to be priced with comparable condominiums in the area selling between $400,000 and $800,000

The Ironwoods condominiums will replace a line of low-rise apartments along Kailua Road and will have three open courtyards. D.R. Horton Schuler and Green Sand Inc.

This Kailua Road apartment complex will be demolished and Ironwoods condos will go up on the site. The plan is for four-story buildings with garden-style courtyards. RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser