New Building Construction Boosts Economy In West Hawaii 

Kohanakiki Resort

Kokua Roofing replacing roofs at the Keauhou Resort

Good news-the economy in West Hawaii is improving. New construction, a leading indicator of an economic recovery, is picking up and looking strong for the foreseeable future.

With the opening of the new nine-acre Kaiser Permanente Kona Medical Office on Honokohau Street in July and the flurry of building going on right now at the new Kohanaiki resort and Palamanui Community College, the sound of new construction is music to the local building industry’s ears.

Other new building projects going up in West Hawaii include the new radiology building in downtown Kona, All’i Heights in Kona and Sunset Ridge and the Kamakoa Nui project, both in Waikaloa Village.

This is good news for the local economy, which experienced the loss of hundreds of construction jobs during the recession starting in 2008.

“Kokua Roofing is definitely seeing an upswing in the economy. Our company was recently tapped to re-roof 17 condo units at the Keauhou Resort condo complex, and we were responsible for a large portion of the new roofs at the luxury Kohanaki Resort south of the Kona airport. We are also working with several private homeowners to re-roof houses so photovoltaic solar panels can be installed. In fact, permits for new PV are strong, which helps the construction industry, electricians and roofers, in particular”, said Kokua Roofing, CEO, Ron Lloyd.

Kohanakiki Resort

Kohanaiki Resort in West Hawaii is one of the largest construction projects being built in 2014.

Building permits, a bellwether of the local construction industry, have continued to rise since the downturn, providing opportunity for many people working in the trades, which in turn, helps the West Hawaii economy.

Hawaii County Department of Public Works/Building Division in 2013 issued nearly 12,000 building, electrical, plumbing, and sign permits island-wide – a 30% increase over fiscal year 2011-12 – for projects worth an estimated $678 million, the Department of Public Works engineering division Issued over 600 engineering permits for right of way, grading, grubbing, stockpiling, subdivisions, and construction plans.

Just a sampling of the Public Improvement projects: The Ka‘iminani Road project was focused on reconstructing the roadway, retaining walls, and drainage that includes a six-foot shoulder, with tie-ins to private driveways. 80% of the $10 million construction cost is paid by the Federal Highways Administration.

For residential housing, sales are increasing at the new All’i Heights in Kona and Sunset Ridge as high demand for housing in an extremely tight real estate market currently exists in West Hawaii.

Construction projects, which have been put on hold for years, waiting for a more favorable economic climate, are just beginning to come on line. A senior residential facility above Pottery Terrace is one of these projects. Rumored to be able to add hundreds of new jobs, as well as new residential housing options for seniors, it is seen as a boost for Kona.

Other local building professionals are seeing similar examples of West Hawaii finally recovering from a long down turn.

Steve Machesky, owner of KCPM Inc. dba Kokua Contracting and Project Management, who has been in contact with civil engineers and architects, reported that there is a significant uptick in new projects or older projects that were “mothballed” during the recession coming back to life. “In general terms, the design industry usually sees the first “wave” of this development which could translate into new work. This is, of course, dependent on the ease of financing and cost of borrowing. The building of new single family homes appears to be making a recovery and net metering solar systems have been a big part of the addition or remodeling industry island-wide”, Machesky stated.

West Hawaii Today published a story today about the unemployment rate dropping and some good news for increased tourism over the next few years. (although tourism has been off a bit this year). For those still considering a move, look at the last part of the story about inflation still hitting us here in Hawaii with the cost increase of energy, education and transportation.

Note, I wrote this release for my client, Kokua Roofing, which is a full-service roofing company in Hawaii dedicated to the highest quality service and satisfaction of its customers. Kokua Roofing provides roofing services in Hawaii, including Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island of Hawaii. To learn more, go to

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Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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