Billionaires Descend on Hawaii's Big Island

Courtesy of Kohanaiki
Kohanaiki's club house and Rees Jones-designed golf course

A spate of exclusive private communities on the Kona Coast are designed to beckon the ultra-high net-worth clique, including Dell CEO Michael Dell and Citadel founder Ken Griffin.

The Kona Coast may be Hawaii's hottest new place for billionaire vacation abodes. At Kukio, an ultra-exclusive private residential community, homeowners include Michael Dell -- whose 18,500-square-foot Raptor Residence has been valued at more than $64 million -- as well as Paul Hazen, chairman of KKR Financial Holding Corporation and the former chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo.

Hualalai, another exclusive neighborhood on the Kona Coast, counts Ken Griffin, founder of hedge fund Citadel, and Oaktree Capital Management founder and billionaire Howard Marks as homeowners.

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And now, another private community has launched on the Kona Coast. Located on 450 acres of coast-hugging land, Kohanaiki is a sprawling, golf-course centric project that will include a beach club, restaurants, an on-site organic farm, as well as a sprawling pool complex.

The community is entitled for 420 homes, which will include three-bedroom townhomes designed by Honolulu-based architect Warren Sunnland. The first 20 Sunnland-designed townhomes are now set to begin construction. When completed, they will join 12 residences designed by San Francisco-based firm Zak Architects, which were released in December. Priced from $3.2 million, the homes meld traditional Hawaiian architectural details with an overall approach toward simple and luxurious lines. The houses will have steeply pitched roofs, expansive lanais, as well as basalt stone flooring with puka Lava borders, and 17-foot tall vaulted ceilings finished in western red cedar. Separate guest homes, swimming pools and spas are part of the properties.

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Don Cheadle and Real Housewives of Orange County’s Lydia McLaughlin have visited Kohanaiki, where the 60,000-square-foot Kohanaiki Clubhouse will be finished in December 2015. When completed, homeowners will have access to the Pro Shop, which will accompany the existing 18-hole Rees Jones-designed golf course, a second oceanfront restaurant with individual wine storage, and a world-class spa and fitness center.  

Located between the Kona International Airport and the seaside town of Kailua, the community is owned by Kennedy Wilson and IHP Capital Partners. So far, 24 lots and completed homes have been sold.