Koa‘e Makana celebrates completion

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Mayor Derek Kawakami and Mark Development President Craig Watase chat ahead of the blessing at Koa‘e Makana in the housing project’s barbecue area in Koloa.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kyle Watase, the third Watase generation of the family at Mark Development, distributes pa‘akai to Trinette Kaui of A&B Hawai‘i for the Friday blessing of Koa‘e Makana in Koloa.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i County Councilmember Felicia Cowden gets a closer look at the playground structure and play area at Koa‘e Makana in Koloa.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The main entrance off Po‘ipu Road and a typical, two-story affordable-rental building are seen at Koa‘e Makana in Koloa.

KOLOA — Mark Development President Craig Watase took his pinch of pa‘akai (Hawaiian sea salt) and promptly sprinkled it on the storm-drain grating Thursday during the blessing of the Koa‘e Makana affordable workforce-rental community.

“Just like a developer,” said kahu Jade Wai‘ale‘ale Battad, officiant of the blessing ceremony that was preceded by a bout of rain. “He goes straight to the storm drain so the place won’t flood.”

Watase is the second generation of the family in Mark Development.

“2018, the year Mark Development secured financing and started construction, was a very wet year,” Watase said to the small audience restricted in size due to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

2020 was the year Mark Development initiated rental efforts, and the final of 130 households finished moving into Koa‘e Makana by Dec. 31. This marked the completion of the project that includes 133 affordable-rental units, plus a resident manager’s unit.

“We are excited to announce the completion of Koa‘e Makana, as our last family moved in at the end of December 2020,” said Kyle Watase, senior project manager of Mark Development. “We are proud to have partnered with, and carry out, the County of Kaua‘i’s vision to provide affordable housing to the people of Kaua‘i, especially with the hardships that many families faced over the past year.”

Koa‘e Makana, designed to serve the workforce housing needs of the Koloa visitor industry and support local small businesses in the vicinity of Koloa and Po‘ipu, includes 23 low-rise, multi-plex apartment buildings within the 11-acre South Shore location where sugar cane formerly grew. The two-story, garden-style buildings include one-, two- and three-bedroom units that range from 742 to 1,126 square feet.

Kitchens include modern appliances, kitchen island, granite counter tops and soft-close cabinetry. Each unit also includes storage space, master-bedroom walk-in closets, a 9-foot ceiling height and tenant and guest parking. Each home also offers laundry hookups for residents to install washers and dryer.

The community center features a resident laundry center and a community center to support family activities. There is a keiki playground with small play tunnels, a slide and climbing ropes next to the community center.

“On Kaua‘i, our most important necessities are to take care of our ‘ohana, our home and our community,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami.

“That is why I am grateful and excited for Koa‘e Makana, where many of our residents can proudly call their home. Thank you to our County Housing Agency and team, the project managers at Mark Development, our Kaua‘i County Council and, most importantly, our South Shore community for standing behind this project which will not only meet our immediate housing needs today, but will continue to provide homes for future generations,” Kawakami said.

”The years of planning, hard work and partnerships of all those involved is evident as we commemorate and provide blessings for everyone toward the completion of this important housing initiative.”

Rents at Koa‘e Makana were established in compliance with federal guidelines aimed to support household earning between 50% and 60% of the area median income. For households earning as little as 30% AMI, 33 units are reserved for those who receive Project-Based Section 8 (feeral housing) Subsidy.

Koa‘e Makana by Mark Development recently won the Building Industry Association of Hawai‘i Grand Award for Affordable Multi-Family Developments. It is the company’s 14th affordable-housing project.

Established in 1977, Mark Development is known throughout the state as a housing developer and property-management entity with the sole focus of creating and maintaining affordable housing for the people of Hawai‘i.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

  1. mona March 6, 2021 8:16 am Reply

    Great article/great place! Does anyone know if there are plans for more workforce housing on Ala Kinoiki Road?- in the area that was designated as “workforce housing” or the “Poipu Gateway area” in the south shore general plan. This area still has housing needs..

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