KOLOA — Six years ago, Robert Alvarado of California stood at the corner of Koloa and Weliweli roads and was greeted by a large “For Sale” sign posted on the empty lot.
“Something came over me,” Alvarado said. “I come from a place near the base of the Santa Cruz mountains. I dreamt of something like this since I was a child, a place that had nearly the same feeling of where I grew up. I talked about this with my mom, and called the number on the billboard. Paul Kyno came in answer to the phone call, and we negotiated the sale on the front seat of his truck.”
Alvarado and his developer partner Michael Serpa relayed the saga Wednesday morning to a gathering of people during the site blessing and groundbreaking for Koloa Village. It is described as a mixture of retail, commercial, and residential, projected to appeal to both the local and visitor communities.
“People along the boardwalk looked at me,” Alvarado said. “I turned to them and said, ‘This is something I’m going to do the rest of my life.’”
Alvarado said Koloa is a special place and he wants to develop Koloa Village to become the center of town.
Starting from Koloa Road across the Koloa post office, Koloa Village is scheduled to be completed in two phases. The first will be the shopping and commercial complex with a 250-car parking lot. The second phase will include 36 residential units along the Waikomo Road boundary.
“The 47,000 square feet of historic plantation style two-story ‘Shops’ have been designed to connect the historic store fronts of Koloa Town with ‘The Shops’ as the new South Shore center,” according to a press release.
“This is a big responsibility,” said Serpa. “Koloa Village is humbled and respectful of being a part of Koloa. With more than 25 years in the development industry, I have never had a project as unique as this.”
Serpa said part of the construction for Kauai Village will see improvements along Weliweli Road, including pedestrian walkways and a sanitary sewer system.
“The crepe mrytle trees that Louis Abrams loved will remain,” Serpa said. “Weliweli Road will be tree lined, and the monkeypod trees will be maintained. Inside the commercial area, we will have a bicycle concessation allowing people to use Hapa Trail to get to and from the Poipu area. The homes will be owner-occupied with pricing affordable to working professionals.”
Planning director Michael Dahilig said the department makes sure that promises made are kept.
“Louis Abrams was my boss as the chair of the Planning Commission,” Dahilig said. “Louis always stressed melding the modern with the past. Koloa is a special place because it was where the sugar industry has its roots. This project fills the honoring of the land and its history with growth in a modern way.”