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Preserving Kailua’s Essence

By Mitch D’Olier
President & CEO of Kaneohe Ranch Management

When Kaneohe Ranch began thinking about a major new development that would become Kailua Town Center III, located at the epicenter of downtown Kailua, we realized the importance of the location and listened to the opinions of the community, taking them all to heart.

Chester Hughes

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Chester Hughes (left), director of security and facilities service, Dabney Gough and Tim Talkington in Kailua. Nathalie Walker photo nwalker@midweek.com

In fact, for more than 100 years the family of Kaneohe Ranch visionary Harold K.L. Castle has been investing in Windward Oahu. When Harold Castle passed away in 1967, he left a sizeable portion of his wealth to the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

Today, as Hawaii’s largest private foundation, it has worked hard to support Windward Oahu’s rich cultural legacy and its youths and families, as well as conservation efforts such as the preservation and restoration of the Hamakua Hillside and Hamakua Marsh. It has made substantial grants to Hawaii’s public schools, Castle Medical Center and community organizations such as the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, churches and schools.

After consulting with the community, we began planning for Kailua Town Center III by interpreting the consensus desire to preserve Kailua’s small-town feel to mean we should develop something that would speak to Kailua’s location, architectural diversity and sense of place.

As new stores and shops are planned for opening, I look at the architecture reflecting Hawaiian sense of place, native Hawaiian plantings, peaceful walk-ways, niches and pedestrian enhancements, the remarkable “Living Wall” and the striking mosaics, and I hope we have made a contribution to the experience of Kailua Town.

It didn’t happen by accident. A lot of planning and hard work by our entire Kaneohe Ranch team went into a design that not only provided tenants with the space they needed, but created a comfortable Island-style gathering place in harmony with Kailua’s roots.

We’ve received wonderful comments from residents who appreciate the way the center turned out, and Kaneohe Ranch will always strive to maintain Kailua’s appeal. We are stewards of the vision Harold K.L. Castle had for this town and which has now lived for more than 100 years.