‘Kukuiula is a lifestyle’

POIPU — The Kukuiula luxury resort community reported $84 million in closed contracts and under-contract activity to close 2014.

“We are excited,” said Jeff Yamaguchi, vice president sales and marketing at Kukuiula. “What we’re finding out is that people are discovering Kauai again.”

The island’s only managed club community reported sales of 23 new properties, with 17 homes under construction, adding to the 40 completed homes in the project. Construction for 2015 includes plans for a more Club Villas single family homes.

In partnership with East West Partners, three of the remaining seven Club Villas are sold, as part of an enclave of 13 spectacular ocean-view homes positioned along Kukuiula’s Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, The Club at Kukuiula, Plantation House, Spa and Makai Pools and nearby Kukuiula Bay. The first six single-family Villas sold soon after the 2014 announcement and are due to complete construction in April.

The economic impact on Kauai is difficult to measure at this stage, but the continued sales and increased demand is good for development, construction and positions that support the club, Yamaguchi said.

“We are continuing to ramp up and are adding positions and staff member as we get more and more people that become members,” he said. “I think that is a really nice benefit to the island and by continuing to grow jobs in the community, it benefits everybody.”

Buyers are realizing Kauai is the down-to-earth experience they sought elsewhere, Yamaguchi said.Things may change — but not so fast on Kauai.

Families still seek the curated experience where their activities are managed in luxury, but prefer a more relaxed ohana-style setting, Yamaguchi, said. What most no longer want is their father’s experience, where it’s private golf and spa, followed by dressing up for dinner every night at the club.

Today’s club experience is adapting to appeal to younger, more adventurous families that like hiking, paddle boarding, and connecting with nature by picking produce for the farm-to-table dinner experience.

“That is what Kukuila is, a lifestyle,” Yamaguchi said. “It is a very refined, quality experience, but not scripted.”

People who visit and like the South Shore tend to return again and again, Yamaguchi said. At some point, they say, “Why not make a second home here?” and they begin to look at the managed club as both an investment and a catered vacation experience, he said.

People in various stages in life tend to want different things and that makes vacation choices difficult for a family, Yamaguchi said. Kauai appeals to every level of life, he said, and Kukuiula aims for that completeness.

“They love being here and their kids do, too,” he said.

And there is still plenty of land to meet the demand, Yamaguchi said. The remaining lots will be the preference for space among the owners.

“We still have a long way to go; the majority of the land has not been accessed yet,” Yamaguchi said. “This is still in its infancy.”

Kukuiula is a 1,010-acre residential community in Poipu, set between the National Tropical Botanical Garden and historic Old Koloa Town. The private $100 million-plus clubhouse serves as the social and recreational centerpiece of the community. There are several swimming pools, a manmade beach and a sand-pit volleyball court.

The 25,000-square-foot Spa at Kukuiula includes private indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, fitness facilities, a studio for yoga and Pilates, locker rooms and a 25-meter lap pool.

Other features include men’s and women’s locker rooms, each with individual outdoor garden showers, glass-walled steam rooms, lava rock saunas and hot and cold plunge pools.

The 216-acre, par-72 golf course feature sand-plated fairways and a landscape filled with native flora. Most holes have panoramic ocean views. It was named “Best New Private Course” by Golf Magazine in January 2012.

All that makes it an attractive place to live and play.

Six of the 13 ocean-view Club Villas at Kukuiula have sold and are under construction. Three of the remaining seven are being released and the first phase of 11 bungalows has started with a new collection of projects planned this year.

The lodge program features bungalows and cottages that can be placed in the rental program and maintained under management. Renters have club privileges and access to everything the owners would.

“The bungalows are turn key, fully furnished one-bedroom, up to three-bedroom,” Yamaguchi said.

Prices range from $1.6 to $3 million.

The club cottages are three-bedroom units that are fully furnished and started at $2.9 million. The club villa four-bedroom units are unfurnished and start at $4.5 million.

On the makai side of the hill, there are four- to six-bedroom single family homes that are not part of the rental component and have no access to club membership. This collection is managed separately from the club, he said.

The hillside Kahalawai neighborhood plans four and five bedroom homes that average $4 million to $6 million. The Kaulu neighborhood on the makai side has smaller three- to four-bedroom homes that average $3 million to $4 million.

The new development hasn’t changed the look much at all, Yamaguchi said, and the traditional plantation design is still the anchor. Every home has its own flair, but the core elements remain with the plantation style.

In addition to Club Villas, Kukuiula offers custom homesites starting in $800,000 range and a new neighborhood, Kainani, which will offer oceanview homes, condos and homesites.

Kukuiula Development Company is an affiliate of DMB Associates, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based diversified real estate development and investment firm, and A&B Properties, a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin in Hawaii.

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Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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