It was a bright morning in Ewa as crews continued their work on Wai Kai, a waterfront recreation, retail and entertainment complex under construction in West Oahu.
Construction on the development began almost two years ago and is nearing completion.
Wai Kai is slated to open on Feb. 10, 2023, the developers announced earlier this month, at which time, members of the media were taken on tour of the $100 million project.
When it’s complete, the 9-acre development — located within the Hoakalei Resort in Ewa Beach — will boast The LineUp at Wai Kai, a hub for water sports and activities headlined by the Wai Kai Wave. The LineUp also features the 52-acre Wai Kai Lagoon, restaurants, the private Nalo Kai Club, Sessions Lifestyle & Apparel shop, and an event lawn with waterfront fire pits, according to information provided by Haseko Family of Companies, the developer behind the project.
According to an announcement, the Wai Kai Wave, which is being touted as the world’s largest deep-water standing surf wave, is powered by citywave technology to create “authentic surfing conditions” and adjustable waves measuring from two- to six-feet.
The wave pool — the cost of which totals $42 million, including the surrounding infrastructure — was created in collaboration with professional surfer Shane Beschen.
Larry Caster, director of retail development at Wai Kai Commercial Development, said the cost to use the wave will be approximately $45 for a 45-minute session but could go up to $100 an hour depending on the type of use.
If the wave is running three sections, it can handle three groups of 10 to 12, he said, “so we can actually have 30-35 people that are utilizing the wave at one time, one person on each section at a time.”
Using larger sections of the wave pool will be more expensive, but there will be packages and kamaaina rates available, as well.
Camaraderie, food and beverage will be “just as important as the wave itself” in the surrounding area, Caster said. “It’s going to be an incredible gathering place for people to come and just have a good time, even if you don’t want to surf.”
Meanwhile, the Wai Kai Lagoon will offer an area for stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, outrigger canoeing, peddle boats and even piloted electric boat cruises.
The Kitchen Door, a dual concept restaurant from Michelin-awarded chef Todd Humphries of Kitchen Door Napa, will have the Plaza Grill, a full-service dining room with lagoon views, and the Boardwalk Cafe, a counter-service eatery.
The LookOut Bar and Restaurant will overlook the Wai Kai Wave, and the development also will feature Foam Coffee & Bar.
When asked whether the developers have faced delays or complications due to the pandemic, supply chain issues or recent inflation, Caster said, “the answer is yes.”
Every sort of raw material has been affected, he said, noting the Kitchen Door has two full kitchens while The LookOut also has a major kitchen area.
“So stainless [steel] went up a lot. Wood products went up a lot. Plastics went up a lot,” Caster said. “Luckily, when we started this project, and we did it out in 2020, we bought out most of those large products that we needed, so we weren’t impacted as much.
“On the supply chain issue, Layton [Construction] has done a phenomenal job of keeping ahead of that for us. So we really have not been impacted in regard to pushing the project for supply chain [issues].”
Caster said the project has seen a 10% increase overall to its budget due to cost and supply chain issues.
“Shipping got much more expensive, but I feel that we’re pretty lucky, actually, to stay within that range, with all the stuff going on. I think we did pretty well,” he said.
As far as economic impacts of the project, Caster said the total cost is a little over $100 million and the developer has employed nearly 300 people during construction, with 80 to 100 people on site daily.
Haseko Family of Companies also developed Hoakalei Resort, among other projects. Hoakalei is a 726-acre master planned community being built on former sugar cane lands and currently has four residential neighborhoods and an 18-hole golf course at Hoakalei Country Club, in addition to Wai Kai.
It was announced in June that Wai Kai has partnered with Events International Inc. to develop, attract, host and manage events, festivals, private parties and other community activities.
Surf Park Management, Inc. is the manager of The LineUp.
Visit waikaiexperience.com or atthelineup.com for event bookings and more information.