About Mililani Region / Central Oahu
In real estate, people love to talk about how 'central' a place is, right in the middle of everything so you're near to whatever you want to do and wherever you want to go. For Oahu real estate
, when you speak in those terms, you're talking about the Mililani region. Or, to be more specific, you're talking about four communities: Mililani Town
, Mililani Mauka
that all sit in the center of this beautiful Island.
Let's establish an overall picture first by looking at what the four share, like the highway which makes up the dividing line between them. The H-2 freeway runs its way through here, heading North/South. Up to the North Shore
and Down to Pearl Harbor and Honolulu. No matter what your purpose is, work and shopping (South) or beaches and big waves (North), you're getting there in good time.
Both also share the elevated plateau they sit on, located between Oahu's two major mountain ranges, the Koolaus on the East and the Waianaes to the West. The higher elevation in the midst of those hills produces the comfort of cooler climes, something lower Oahu residents envy on those warmer days that make up most of the tropical year.
It's also responsible for the flourishing greenery that springs up so easily and bountifully all around you. Not just in the many parks and green belts laid out across the 2 towns, but at and around your own home, where its enjoyment can lift the most trying of your days. The fertility of this land is no recent discovery.
Before either town came into being, this area was dominated by the sugar cane and pineapple plantations that powered Hawaii's economy until well into the Mid-1900's. With the shift toward tourism and other changes that brought a close to that era, it became clear that this was the perfect place for building a new community. Housing demands were only growing and the property here, at the time, was considerably more affordable, being outside Metro Honolulu
. That was the start of Mililani Town.
Mililani Town - Built Hawaii Style
The first residents moved into their new homes in 1969, becoming the initial settlers of a neighborhood that hadn't existed just a few years before. You'll notice that, though it was build in a time when high-rises were springing up, there are almost none to be seen here. Mililani real estate was developed in the classic Hawaii style of low-rise, often ranch style houses. You come here to have your own yard, make friends with your neighbors and raise, or start, your family.
There are townhomes as well, but the dominant layout are the large groups of single and two story houses surrounded by varying amounts of lawn, making up a local counterpart to the suburbs of the mainland.
Like those suburbs, there's substantial shopping to take care of just about anything you'd require. The aptly named Town Center of Mililani
has Wal-Mart, Long's, City Mill, Times Supermarket plus numerous dining and entertainment options, including a 14 Plex movie theatre. The fact that it covers 450,000 sq ft should tell you just how complete the Town Centre is in its offerings. It's a one-stop shop for most anything.
There's also the smaller, but still very substantial, Mililani Shopping Center
, which provides a grocery store, local favorite Ross plus 14 restaurants and eateries along with many other shops and services. When you have two malls of this depth, you know you've got your options filled nicely.
The home values in Town can be expected to run from $500K to as much as $1M, the lots averaging between 5,000 to 8,000 sq ft. Townhomes are more affordable, going from $200K on up to $500K.
Mililani Mauka - The Younger, Quieter Sister
Head east directly across H-2 and you're in Mililani Mauka. This community came to life the moment its sister was completed, welcoming its first residents in 1991. The last of the overall project's homes opened their doors 16 years later, in 2007. Outside of Kapolei
, this is the newest large-scale development on Oahu.
Mauka has a modern look and favors townhomes more than Town, many of which are a notch or two higher than the typical layout. The Hampton Court townhomes
have 2 and 3 bedrooms, with as much as 1,700 sq ft of floor to walk around in underneath double tall ceilings. Your car gets the same generous treatment due to the individual covered garage included in the bargain.
Mililani Mauka real estate
is also indulgent with the sizes of the lots. The range is greater than Town, going from 4,000 to as much as 10,000 sq ft, so you're given much to work with as you please. Tend a garden. Sit outside and soak in the cool quiet. Get out your grill and invite friends and family over to make some memories. You've got the room for it all now.
The home values currently go from $600K to $1.2M for houses, while townhomes start at around $200K, rising to the upper $500K level.
The one things Mauka lacks is shopping. For some, though, that's a benefit, keeping the large parking lots and traffic outside. There is the small, but expanding, Gateway, which has a Long's, McDonald's and, most importantly for many, a Starbucks. The lack of storefronts isn't that much of an issue, with the Mililani Town's two malls just minutes away to take care of whatever you need.
The oldest of Mililani houses are just a few decades old, some have not even reached their 10th birthday. Yet both Town & Mauka have the feel of true local family neighborhoods. The parks are filled each weekend with families cheering on their kids baseball or soccer teams. The backyards are alive with the sizzling of grills and singalongs, accompanied by ukulele, of course. Cars get loaded up with surfboards for a trip northward.
What these communities have is the Hawaii variety of character, something that the developers could never have planned, but is here because the people made it so. Somehow it's understandable that this happened. After all, Mililani Town & Mililani Mauka are right in the Heart of Oahu.
Little is known about life on the expanse of Oahu that became Mililani before the time of Kamehameha I
. During his war to take the Island he fought a major battle with resisting forces here in Kipapa Gulch. It was said that when it finally ended, the sides of the gulch were covered top to bottom with bodies. These fallen warriors might explain the many sightings of Night Marchers there have been in this area over the years.
As he did everywhere he conquered, Kamehameha left people loyal to him to watch over his new lands. One was the family of John Papa I'i. The son of a Big Island chief, he became an attendant of the prince who'd eventually rule as Kamehameha II. Papa I'i grew up mainly in central Oahu, exploring Kipapa Gulch on numerous occasions. It is believed that he named the area Mililani, more than a hundred years before it was bestowed officially.
Kamehameha III would reward his service by giving him ownership of lands that included the property he lived on as a boy. Today's Mililani property owners will find his name on their Title, a recognition of his status as the Father of the town(s).
After his death in 1874 his property was put into trust, from which parts were leased or sold. Thousands of acres in the heart of the Island were bought by Dole Pineapple, who turned the lands into a gigantic plantation to grow the popular fruit.
This would be its primary purpose until the 1960's, with one notable exception. In 1940 the US Government sought out flat land for possible air strips in light of the gathering war clouds. They found some in these pineapple fields in present-day Mililani.
The attack on Pearl Harbor activated their plan and an airfield was quickly carved out in the plantation. Several air squadrons were based here throughout World War II, sent out to patrol the Pacific 24 hours a day to prevent another such attack. After the war, the airstrip was quickly returned to farmland.
By the late 1950's Castle & Cooke, Dole's parent company, realized that housing and real estate were the new economic driver. So planning began in 1965 for a community called 'Waipio New Town', fortunately renamed as Mililani. Master planned down to every detail, it took 40 years to fulfill the Mililani Town vision of 15,000 homes, though Mililani Mauka is still in progress.
Residents here are very proud of, and extremely happy with, the results of their neighborhood and the community spirit they have created there. That's something that even Night Marchers are powerless against.