Mike Atherton, owner of Maui Tropical Plantation, has big plans for the small town of Waikapu and is looking to build thousands of homes and businesses in the area over the next decade.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime; to build a new town in Maui,” Antherton says.
Once a bustling epicenter for sugar cane production and commerce on Maui, Waikapu has become primarily a residential area that has lost its identity as a place of business and growth. Atherton, 66, is looking to change that with the Waikapu Country Town project. It calls for the construction of retail stores, restaurants, an elementary school, and nearly 1,500 residences, according to an environmental impact statement preparation notice for the project.
The 1,600-acre project would be built in two, five-year phases on both sides of Honoapiilani Highway. The tropical plantation would serve as the “village center” and remain relatively untouched, Atherton says. A mix of single-family, multi-family, rural, and country town mixed-use homes would be built around the village center, along with a six-mile bike trail, parks, and plenty of parking.
“It’s a combination of Front Street and Paia with a little bit of Honolua Store and some Shops of Wailea thrown in there,” he says. “What that does is it creates jobs. We want to live, we want to work, and we want to play all in the same town.”