Back to the Landscape

At Kukui’ula, Kauai’s first new development in decades, the homes are built green, food is grown on site and community engagement is encouraged.

Alexander & Baldwin (A&B), formerly one of Hawaii’s Big Five sugar companies and now one of the state’s largest landowners, is building a new luxury residential community on a former sugar plantation on Kauai’s southern coast. In partnership with residential real estate developer DMB Associates of Scottsdale, Arizona, A&B envisions Kukui’ula as “the perfect marriage of luxury living and casual lifestyle,” says Brent Herrington, president of Kukui’ula.

Nestled between the National Tropical Botanical Garden and historic Old Koloa, Kukui’ula offers ocean-view home sites, green-built plantation-style cottages and luxury residences, and a private $100 million 80,000-square-foot clubhouse and spa overlooking Kukui’ula Harbor and the 9th and 18th holes of the Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course. Winding between groves of macadamia, mangos and citrus as well as coffee, pineapple and sugar cane, the golf course integrates the site’s agricultural history and provides food for the community. “We not only have a visual reminder of the history of the land,” says Kurt Matsumoto, director of resort and club operations, “but we’ll also use the products in the clubhouse.”

High above the community, a 20-acre reservoir once used to irrigate the plantation now provides water for the golf course and offers residents a recreational area for boating, fishing and swimming. At a community garden surrounding the reservoir, homeowners can tend the soil or pick from fields of red ginger, papaya, mango, starfruit, bananas, taro and peppers. “It’s great for part-time residents who can’t keep backyard gardens,” Matsumoto says. Locals can pick up fresh produce at a gourmet farmer’s culinary market every Wednesday at The Shops at Kukui’ula.

Kukui’ula broke ground in 2008, and the club opened in 2011. Of the 1,500 homes that the developers are entitled to build, construction has been completed on 18 of the 25 homes under construction. As the only private club community and the first large residential development on Kauai in 30 years, it presents a unique opportunity, Matsumoto says. “If you know Kauai is the place for you, Kukui’ula stands out for the amenities it offers,” he says.

–Robyn Griggs Lawrence


How do you know if you’re buying into a truly green community? 

Mark Hostetler, author of The Green Leap: A Primer for Conserving Biodiversity in Subdivision Development, suggests asking the following questions.

1. What kinds of tree protection and natural area conservation strategies have been employed?

2. Does the community have a long-term environmental education program?

3. Do the covenants, codes and restrictions address environmental issues?

4. What types of plants are used for landscaping?

5. Are trails and sidewalks planned along with shared spaces?

6. What kind of irrigation and stormwater system does the community have, and what water-conservation devices have been installed in the homes?

7. Does the community have a green transportation system?

8. Is the developer seeking third-party “green” certification?

9. How energy efficient are the homes?

10. Did the builder use “green” construction materials?

To learn more, read “Evaluating Green Communities: Top 11 Questions to Ask” at