A whopping 27 neighborhoods makes up the city of Hawaii Kai.
Greater Ewa Beach has several distinct neighborhoods built on the wide-open spaces of the Ewa Plain. The dynamic ongoing residential and commercial growth makes it an exciting place to live. Ewa Beach communities offer a lot more home for less than many other areas of Oahu. From condos and townhouses to single-family homes, from modest starter homes and larger family homes to luxurious homes in gated communities, the options are many. Buyers have a wide array of home-style choices and amenity-rich communities to grow with – and even more neighborhoods to come.
Ewa Beach is no longer just the quiet, blue-collar beach town. In Greater Ewa Beach, new residential neighborhoods fill once agricultural land between Pearl Harbor’s West Loch and the eastern boundaries of the growing “second city” Kapolei. The many new planned communities bring a fresh, exhilarating spirit to this vast area with new Hawaiian home designs, community and recreational areas, parks and greenways, pedestrian walkways, and bike paths. Rapid commercial growth is keeping pace with family needs while providing a pleasing assortment of shops, restaurants, and professional services.
Ewa Beach has experienced phenomenal growth, offering a broad range of housing options for a broad range of buyers. Whether looking for a “starter” home, one for a large family, or a luxurious home with ocean or golf course views, Ewa Beach has it all. Condos, townhouses, and single-family homes, all with a distinctly Hawaiian character, are the delightful mix that fills the many distinct Ewa Beach communities.
Except for the older neighborhoods of oceanfront Ewa Beach and Ewa Villages constructed around the bygone plantation mill, the first new neighborhoods were completed in the early 1990s. Dozens of lovely neighborhoods have been built since then - with yet more to come.
Ewa Beach has always been a very family-oriented community. And this fact has been at the forefront of its many new residential developments. The many outdoor amenities, such as bike paths and parks, promote family togetherness and a friendly community while enjoying a healthy Hawaiian lifestyle.
Makamae, currently in construction, is the last neighborhood of the Ewa by Gentry planned community. Hoopili by developer D.R. Horton is the newest planned community under construction. Horton is constructing 12,000 new homes, including affordable housing, condos, townhouses, single-family homes, and the new concept FLEX homes, over a 20-year timeframe. A few neighborhoods have already been completed, with homes now available for resale. Five new public schools and more commercial areas are planned for this enormous growth.
There are so many options for buyers in new homes and resales in Greater Ewa Beach. Besides the numerous amenities in planned communities, beautiful beaches, several golf courses, historic railway rides, and shopping and entertainment await. And there is more in nearby Kapolei and Ko Olina, including the Disney resort, Aulani. On the Ewa Beach oceanfront, the Hoakalei future resort area between White Plains Beach and One’ula Beach has plans for over 100 resort shops and restaurants, but the fun news is that Hoakalei will soon open a wave pool!
Today’s Ewa Beach communities are the result of a history of related events. In 1878, one of the many visionaries of 19th century Hawaii, King David Kalākaua, created “An Act to Promote the Construction of Railroads.” In 1889, with a charter from Kalākaua, another visionary, B. F. Dillingham, opened the Oahu Railroad and Land Company (OR&L) with track laid as far as ‘Aiea.
Dillingham continued to lay track, across the Ewa Plain, around Ka’ena Point, and on to Kahuku in windward Oahu. Initially, the line was meant to carry passengers, eventually carrying well over a million passengers annually by 1922.
However, Dillingham also saw the potential in sugar cane and freighting the milled product to ensure the rail line's economic success. In 1879, James Campbell, another entrepreneurial visionary, had successfully drilled the first artesian well on his ranch land, the dry Ewa Plain. The discovery of underground water made the future sugar cane economy possible. In 1889, Dillingham leased 11,000 Ewa acres from Campbell.
Dillingham sublet the leased land to Hawaiian entrepreneurs Castle and Cooke. With the acquired acreage, they created the Ewa Plantation Company to grow and harvest sugar cane. When the first crop was harvested and milled in 1892, the OR&L handled the freight to Honolulu Harbor for shipping. It would do so for many years to come, ensuring the livelihood of the thousands of immigrants who came to work in the industry.
The initial housing around the mill was in camps, often culturally oriented, such as Japanese or Korean camps. More permanent housing was built in 1921 and after, resulting in eight workers’ housing villages. With WWII and ongoing labor shortages, the company could no longer compete against foreign sugar plantations, and the mill finally closed in 1976. Today, the community of Ewa Villages includes renovated plantation style homes in the three remaining villages.
From the mill area, Fort Weaver Rd. travels south to the ocean. Some workers who retired or had means to live outside of the villages bought lots along the beautiful beaches at the end of the road. Ewa Beach slowly began to emerge as a town in the 1950s.
Fast forward to the 1980s with plans to build a “second city” below Makakilo homes situated on the slopes of the descending Waianae Mountain range. The construction of that second city, Kapolei, began in 1990. The vision for Kapolei, combined with the vacated sugar cane fields and an increasing housing shortage, launched a housing boom on the Ewa Plain.
Tom Gentry, a local developer, purchased over 1,000 acres of Ewa Plantation land and broke ground on his first neighborhood, Soda Creek, in 1987. Other developers followed, building more residential communities, many after 2000 And still more exciting developments are being constructed or on the drawing board.
Greater Ewa Beach has a uniquely Hawaiian culture shaped not only by the early Hawaiians farming and fishing Honouliuli but by the later cultural mix of immigrants who descended on the Ewa Plain as the sugar cane industry grew. The plantation brought Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Portuguese, and Americans to work in the fields and the mill.
The new residential developments have welcomed new homeowners from all over the island and elsewhere, bringing fresh vitality to the area. The central location to the Army, Navy, and Air Force bases makes Ewa Beach ideal for military families who generally love to immerse themselves in the local culture while assigned to Hawaii.
In Ewa Beach, the many roots of its multi-ethnic past still influence its present-day community lifestyle. The various communities observe and promote cultural preservation, ecological awareness, and natural preservation.
The annual high temperatures are between 80°F (27°C) and 88°F (31°C). The annual low temperatures are between 66°F (19°C) and 74°F (23°C). Some days may be even hotter. Air conditioning and solar panels are popular home features.
The monthly rainfall is between negligible and less than 3 inches (76 mm). More rain occurs during the winter months. On average, there are six rainy days in the winter months and three rainy days in the summer months.
The average water temperatures are between 75°F (24°C) and 80°F (27°C).
The drive into Honolulu during rush hour can be long and tedious. Depending on one’s Ewa Beach address, the drive is 18-24 miles into the central business district (CBD). During non-rush hours, the drive is about 35 minutes, but it can be 90 minutes or more during rush hour.
Some employers are using staggered work hours to alleviate traffic issues. Many lucky residents work from home or have jobs in Kapolei, the “second city,” relocating some city and county jobs from Honolulu and creating new employment opportunities with the extensive residential growth in West Oahu.
The Bus system has express buses running to the CBD in the mornings and returning in the evenings. Several local bus routes crisscross through Greater Ewa Beach.
The exciting transportation future is with the new rail line to Honolulu. The rapid transit system (HART) is currently being built to travel to the CBD and will make three stops through the northern Ewa Beach area. Passengers will also ride west to Kapolei when it begins service. The current projection is for route activation from Kapolei to the Aloha Stadium and back by the end of 2022. The route activation projection to the CBD is 2031.
Several of the public schools in Ewa Beach were opened after 2000. Seven public elementary schools (PK-6) serve the Greater Ewa Beach area. According to Great Schools.org, Pohakea Elementary School rates highest with an above-average score of 8 out of 10.
Two intermediate schools (7-8) serve Ewa Beach. A small public charter school will serve grades 6-9 in Fall 2022. James Campbell High School (9-12) is the public high school serving Ewa Beach.
Three Ewa Beach religious schools serve grades K-8 while two of the schools have high schools (9-12). There are two college-prep private schools (K-12) in Kapolei.
There are several pre-kindergarten options in the area.
University of Hawai’i – West Oahu is on the western border of Ewa Beach in Kapolei.
Queen's Medical Center – West O'ahu is a significant feature of the growing community. The hospital is recognized as a Magnet hospital, the highest national honor for nursing excellence, and a further example of the Queen's hospital's promise of high-quality, compassionate care.
On the western boundaries of Honolulu, Kaiser Permanente’s Moanalua Medical Center and Tripler Army Medical Center for military personnel, their dependents, and retirees are accessible via the H-1 Freeway.
Ewa Beach and Kapolei have physical therapy clinics and nursing facility options.
Currently, six shopping centers are in or near Ewa Beach with Ka Makana Ali’i, the largest, on the border of Ewa Beach/Kapolei and minutes away from any area of Greater Ewa Beach.
Some of the retailers serving Ewa Beach residents are Foodland and Safeway grocers, Longs (CVS) and Walgreens drug stores, City Mill, and Macy’s. Some residents really love to frequent a Farmer’s Market, and Ka Makana Ali’i has one on two days of the week.
Costco and Walmart are in nearby Kapolei. Franchise eateries and ethnic restaurants are in many locations throughout Ewa Beach.
The Hoopili planned community has land reserved for commercial development. Perhaps, another big box store will anchor a new retail mall with more choices for shopping and dining.
West Oahu has so much to offer singles, couples, families, empty nesters, and retirees. In other words, Ewa Beach has something for everyone - from a lovely place to call home to a lifestyle that promises plenty of rewarding memories!
A whopping 27 neighborhoods makes up the city of Hawaii Kai.
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