That Empty Land Across From Walmart Will Be The Site Of A Veterans Home

I’ve gotten this question from a few readers: “What’s going on with that big empty plot of land across from Walmart?”

We now have an answer—a partial one. The Hawai’i Housing Finance and Development Corporation, which owns the land, tells me that the southeast corner of the plot will be the site of the Hawaiʻi State Veterans Home.

The two-story building and its parking lot will take up about 7 acres of the 26-acre site. If all goes according to plan, the facility will open in late 2021.

The plot, known as the “Northwest Corner” because it’s in the northwest corner of the overall Villages of Kapolei area, has a long history.

The Development History of The “Northwest Corner”

northwest corner property on map
1988: Original plans for Villages of Kapolei call for a commercial center, a church, a park-and-ride lot and senior housing on the site.

2001: The site is rezoned to allow buildings of up to 60 feet.

2013: The Hawai’i Housing Finance and Development Corporation, which owns the land, requests applications from developers to “plan, design, develop, and operate a vibrant, mixed-use ‘urban village'” on the site.

April 2014: The HHFDC receives one proposal, from OliverMcMillan, developer of the Symphony Honolulu luxury condo across from Blaisdell Center.

November 2014: HHFDC approves OliverMcMillan’s proposal, which calls for 380 apartment units, 34 single family homes, 154K retail space, and a 1.2 acre village plaza on the property.

February 2018: OliverMcMillan bought by Brookfield Properties, a Canada-based international property development company.

August 2018: Brookfield/OliverMcMillan backs out of the proposed project, citing both issues with sewer permitting and overall changes in the market, according to HHFDC.

October 2018: The state Department of Accounting and General Services and state Department of Defense propose the Hawaii State Veterans Home.

December 2018: The HHFDC approves the veterans home plan.

Hawaiʻi State Veterans Home Info And Timeline

drawing of proposed state veterans home

Conceptual drawing of proposed Hawaiʻi State Veterans Home, via HHFDC

There are approximately 75,000 vets living on Oʻahu, and only one veterans home — a 60-bed facility at Tripler Army Medical Center that’s managed by the VA.

According to documents provided by HHFDC, the State of Hawaii Department of Defense will lease the land from the HHFDC. A $68.6 million grant from the Veterans Administration will help cover the cost of construction.

It will house 120 veterans who need special services like skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, and memory care.

The planned timeline looks like this:

March 2019: Construction bids due

Late 2019: Construction begins

Late 2021: Hawaiʻi State Veterans Home opens

What About The Rest Of The Northwest Corner?

To make the veterans home happen, the HHFDC will be asking the city to waive the existing master plan for the site, which called for the entire parcel to be developed as a single project.

They say they’ll then move ahead with an RFP for the remainder of the land. According to the HHFDC, there aren’t, at the moment, any official plans for what to do with it.

Any ideas?