By Lisa Scontras | Photos by Davin Iyamatsu
Two subdivisions make up the Kunia area, which runs along Kunia Road mauka of the H-1 Freeway up to and including Anonui Street, moving east toward the Royal Kunia Country Club and everything in between: Village Park and Royal Kunia.
Both subdivisions provide a broad selection for the first-time homebuyer. In Village Park, for example, single-family homes range in price from a fixer upper for $350,000 to a recently renovated, turnkey 4-bedroom, 2-bath with a solar water heater for $499,000.
With single-family homes in Royal Kunia currently priced from $449,000 for a 3-bedroom, 2-bath home on a 6,382-square-foot lot; to $688,000 for a 3-bedroom, 3-bath, 2,261-square-foot home with golf-course views, this neighborhood is luring buyers away from Ewa, Kapolei, and Mililani with its foothill setting as an alternative to the cookie-cutter looking neighborhoods in the same price range.
"Compared to Ewa, the community in Royal Kunia is smaller, there is less traffic, and the lot sizes are a little bigger," says Mikiko Terahira, Realtor Associate at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. "The homes are less expensive than in Waikele, newer, and have nice sized yards. Kunia is a mostly newer community that appeals especially to young couples who want a home to be move-in ready - they don't have extra money for renovations."
Michele Cadiente-Cargo, Realtor Associate at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties notes why Village Park and Royal Kunia are growing in popularity.
"Kunia's higher elevation makes it a few degrees cooler than Ewa Beach," says Cadiente-Cargo. "It is not overcrowded or over grown. And the layout of the community, especially in Royal Kunia, is very family friendly. There are many cul-de-sacs and green spaces throughout the neighborhood, providing a place for children and neighbors to meet, hang out and talk story.
"Kunia is popular with military personnel and their families because of its proximity to Schofield, Wahiawa and Wheeler," says Terahira. "It is also only 20 minutes from Hickam and Pearl Harbor. The community is very friendly and those who have bought here are very happy."
And considering Royal Kunia's impressive golf course, lot sizes that allow for home additions, proximity to the outlet stores, including Oahu's first 24-hour Walmart, good schools, and low maintenance fees - what's not to love about Kunia?
"The Royal Kunia Shopping Center offers an array of eateries to area residents, including Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Denny's and Auntie Pasto's," Cadiente-Cargo says.
Sales in Royal Kunia and in Village Park have been steady.
"Currently, the average days on market for a home in Royal Kunia is about 85 days and the sales-to-list-price-ratio is about 99 percent," says Cadiente-Cargo. "For Village Park, average days on market is about 65 and the sale-to-list-price-ratio is about 98 percent."
She says perhaps the best selling point is the strong feeling of community there.
"The community center allows residents to use the facilities including a park with a jungle gym for keiki, basketball courts and tennis courts," says Cadiente-Cargo. "Both Royal Kunia and Village Park invite the community to participate in various holiday events geared toward families, including Easter egg hunts and Halloween costume contests."
Photos courtesy of Kelly Carrington Race World Hawaii
Cars for keiki. The fascination of getting behind the wheel starts young with go carts, pedal cars, even mini electric cars that look like a BMW or a Ferrari that can set parents back thousands of dollars or … you can head to Race World Hawaii, one of Kunia's lesser known but most loved attractions.
These sporty box cars are as cute as they are fast. And what a thrill.
"Actually they don't go very fast, but it feels like you're going fast because you're right down on the ground, says BC Cowling, executive director of American Box Car Racing International, a local 501c corporation.
Box cars at Race World Hawaii in Kunia move at between 4 and 8 miles per hour, around two 500-foot-long twisting tracks that start at an incline, and are basically gravity powered. Three lanes make it possible to race against each other informally.
A day at the track will cost $8 per person (whether you watch or are behind the wheel) for up to 4 hours of driving. Helmets are required and rentals are available for an additional $2 each, or you can bring your own.
According to Cowling, hundreds of laps are driven in any weekend day and over the course of 15 years, hundreds of thousands of people have enjoyed the experience.
"We sculpted the tracks so that you come off the ramp at a fair speed and then the track gradually drops about 10 feet over the course to maintain your speed," he says. "We say it's for kids, ages 1 to 100."
For families, it's an affordable activity they can do together. Parents must accompany keiki under 18 - children under 6 years old must double up with a parent in the car, ages 7 and up can drive solo. Parents are rotated to be track marshals to monitor the safety of the ramp and track and enforce rules.
"It's a great way for kids to learn hand-eye coordination," says Cowling. "It's a learning experience. They learn how to cooperate with their family and learn how to follow safety rules of the road. And if they violate the rules, there are consequences - they'll get a warning or a time out."
"We are a well-kept secret," says Cowling. "We're not a water park. We're a non-profit organization. It's a million-dollar-plus facility that was built with donations and grants. When we opened we were about $150,000 in debt, and slowly, we're whittling it down. We are here for the people of Oahu."
Photo courtesy of Kelly Carrington
The track is open on weekends.
For safety, there are strict rules, which include wearing sports shoes that cover your feet entirely and, for those under the age of 18, long pants that cover the ankles completely. For more information, call 947-3393 or visit the website at www.boxcarracing.org.
Royal Kunia Country Club
Featuring beautiful views of Diamond Head from every hole, the 18-hole, par 72, stunning Robin Nelson-designed championship course provides the idyllic setting for a relaxing afternoon.
Known for being challenging for every level of player (there are 101 bunkers!), the course and driving range offer reasonable rates in a gorgeous country club setting. And while you'll feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, in terms of serenity, the green fairways at this Leeward Coast course are conveniently located. Don't forget to bring your camera.
For more information, call 688-9222.
Bellaviva Salon Spa
Don't worry, Mom. While race car driving and golf have the rest of the family consumed for hours, we've saved the best Kunia has to offer for last.
Chocolate spa treatments. Chocolate manicure, Chocolate pedicure. Or how about a chocolate body massage to indulge you?
Treatment options also include a Slimming Body Wrap, which combines a seaweed body mask with pure essential oils to eliminate water retention, detoxify and reduce the appearances of cellulite. The Lavender Body Scrub uses stress-relieving oils and salt to distress and exfoliate your skin. Hot Stone Massage improves your circulation, calms your nervous system and relaxes your muscles.
Choose the package that will detoxify, energize, and bring balance back to your life. You'll head back home feeling rejuvenated and pampered. What a treat. Couples massage, pregnancy massage, sports massage, scalp massage, and microdermabrasion are some of the specialty treatments available.
For more information, call 678-1000 or visit the website at www.bellavivasalonspa.com.