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Ohua Avenue – Residential Ambiance on the Quiet Side of Waikiki

Diamond Head view from 250 Ohua Penthouse I           Photo credits: Michael Torres Photography

Growing up on the island of Oahu gives you a sort of love-hate relationship with Waikiki. On the one hand, there are so many historical and interesting cultural events to draw residents to come down to this neighborhood. Yet, many locals tend to limit their time here because it is the resort district of Oahu and the hustle and bustle of tourism can be daunting even though we know we should be grateful for the contributions it brings to our economy, including real estate.

Old photo of the Diamond Head Waikiki view from Bishop Museum archives

There’s tremendous value in the land under the many hotels and resorts that now make up the landscape, especially when we look back at the historical context. At one time this area used to be swampland where taro was grown, and the now famous landmark of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach known throughout the world for the birth of surfing was once the playground for Hawaiian Royalty. There were estates of the former Queen Liliuokalani and Princess Likelike and eventually grand scale homes belonging to Kama’aina families, some that were descended from missionary roots. Eventually, all of this old world charm of Hawaii gave way to what we now know today as the heart and center for our tourism industry with dozens of hotels now offering accommodations to our visitor industry from around the world.

Waikiki, Surfing capital of the world

Waikiki Beach remains a popular beach for surfing — especially for beginners just getting their feet wet — from Hans Hedemann to Faith Riding company and Surf School, lessons are available to every newcomer and the gentle waves make it ideal for learning. My daughter now grown, learned to surf the old-fashioned way — by hitting the beach after school with her dad, part of a childhood that will always be a part of her. There’s lots of memories I have during “hanabata small kid days” attending all the parades and the Cultural Festivals at Kapiolani Park and Hawaiian concerts at the Waikiki Shell. Coming from the hospitality industry prior to being a Realtor — I do have a true fondness for Waikiki, and I’ve come to love this great neighborhood which is often the first introduction to people from all over the world. I’ve been blessed to have met many interesting international friends here in this place I call home.

Here are the reasons a special Hawaii home can be found in Waikiki:

First, on the Diamond Head end of Waikiki between Kuhio and the Ala Wai Boulevard there are a few streets that have a quiet or more residential feel to them. One of those special streets is Ohua Avenue. Besides the more quiet residential feel, one of the nice things about Ohua Avenue, located as a cross street between the Ala Wai Boulevard and Kuhio Avenue, is that it gives you a quick access in and out of Waikiki from the Diamond Head end. So even when there’s a Ho’olaulea street party on Kalakaua, the main corrider, you’re still pretty free and clear to drive in and out of Ohua within minutes very conveniently with a quick turn onto Kapahulu Boulevard.

Famous Diamond Head in Waikiki surrounded by great residential neighborhoods

If you long for a home in the Diamond head neighborhood on the gold coast but you can’t meet the price point and you’ve ruled out the Pualei Circle area because you don’t want the density — Ohua Avenue is an option you might want to consider because it’s still within close proximity to the Diamond head neighborhood just a few blocks away, yet the street has a more open feel to it with buildings that have more green space between them and are not so stacked on top of each other. Moderately priced nicely appointed condos can be had as a pretty comfortable alternative.

Here are two condominium building options that are worth considering:

Leisure Heritage at 311 Ohua Avenue

First, Leisure Heritage at 311 Ohua Avenue was built in 1974 and was envisioned as a luxury building designed with certain elements that give it somewhat of a more upscale experience. The units range from one to three bedrooms and what is very notable is that the square footage is larger than your average Waikiki condo, ranging from 720 to 955 square feet for the one and two bedrooms and the developer even designed it to have multiple lanais from some of the two bedroom units so residents can take advantage of the beauty of the outdoors. There are a few three bedrooms also with incredible square footage ranging from 1,600 to almost 1,900 square feet. Quite luxurious just for the space and size. The residential feel is also attributed to the fact that they do not allow vacation rentals in this building with minimum rental requirements of 6 months — so you get to know your neighbors just like your normal residential neighborhood. The price point for living here is also still moderate with the most recent sold two bedrooms ranging from $475,000 to the $500,000 plus range, although two Penthouse units are currently for sale just slightly above a million dollars. With 15 floors and just 69 units this condo building complete with a resident manager, barbecue areas, swimming pool and central a/c included in the maintenance fee, really offers great value for the location, size and ambiance.

250 Ohua with expansive lanais and residential appeal

The other condominium building with great value is 250 Ohua Avenue. Named by its address “250 Ohua” — one gets the impression this is a comfortable but very understated experience. Also built in the 1970s, it’s just located diagonally across from Leisure Heritage on the same street. With 14 floors and just 93 units — the feel is very cozy and also a very “neighborhood” feel. The units here are also large with a majority of them two bedrooms and a square footage anywhere from 933 to 1233 square feet. The stand out feature here are the large lanais for most units ranging from 170 to 238 square feet. This is notable especially since most new buildings being built now are placing lanais only on premium units. There are units that have both ocean and diamond head views and some that have views of the Ala Wai golf course, Koolau mountains, and Diamond Head. What makes it a great lifestyle experience is that you’re just two blocks from Waikiki beach and the resort area with dining, shopping, and Kapiolani Park. It’s appealing to people who have an active lifestyle and love what Waikiki offers, but also prefer to feel like they are “away” from the main resort areas when they come home to their condo. Once again, similar to Leisure Heritage you’ve got convenient access in and out of the Waikiki neighborhood. Right now at this writing, 250 Ohua has 4 active listings for sale ranging in price from $635,000 to $675,000. Residents seem to stay for a long time and units don’t come available for sale that often.

This Stunning Diamond Head view can be yours at 250 Ohua Avenue, Penthouse I

With that said, Penthouse I on the top floor just came on the market a few days ago and it is a one bedroom with a den that sleeps like a two bedroom. With over 1073 square feet of living area — the spacious size is luxurious but the price is very moderate for a Penthouse address listed at $660,000.  This condo comes with two covered parking stalls side by side — which is another luxury for Waikiki that doesn’t come around too often, as many are aware that parking stalls in Waikiki are hard to come by. If you’re interested in booking a showing, contact me as soon as possible. If you’re interested in learning more about real estate in Waikiki, Diamond Head, East Honolulu or other areas of the island of Oahu, contact me, Rose Medina Kemna, Realtor Broker at (808)497-7673 or rosemkemna@hawaiilife.com.

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