By COLIN M. STEWART
Tribune-Herald staff writer
It’s the type of house that is so opulent — so beyond most mortals’ scope of reality — that upon first visiting, it can be tough to process that this was meant to be a place for people to live.
From the three-helicopter landing pad on the roof, to the 450-seat tennis stadium, to the 250-million-gallon Olympic infinity pool with a high-dive and two-story waterslide, the home is more like a Disneyland for grown-ups.
Named Waterfalling Estate — mainly because a place like this has to have a name, but also because the 8,100-square-foot home is bookended by two naturally occurring waterfalls — the home is owned by Hilo developer Scott Watson and his business partner, Laurie Robertson.
They purchased the land, a former macadamia nut orchard, for $1.2 million about seven years ago, and have worked since then to turn it into the ultimate getaway for the rich and famous.
Hilo Brokers Realtor Kelly Moran has listed the “super home” at $26.5 million, and says it is a one-of-a-kind house at a one-of-a-kind price for not just the windward side, but the entire island of Hawaii.
Situated at the edge of a 250-foot cliff along the Hamakua Coast in Ninole, Waterfalling is the kind of estate that will appeal to a “captain of industry or CEO, someone looking for a part-time home where they can come spend time with family,” Moran said. “The demographic we’re looking at here, it’s rarely a full-time resident. These are people who have multiple homes, people who may come here to spend the winter months.”
Built with active, sports-minded residents in mind, the 8-acre property features a central “pitch and putt” golf green with multiple holes surrounded by nine tees to provide various combinations of par-3 and par-4 play. There’s a paved running track totaling five-eighths of a mile that encircles the property, as well as a basketball/tennis court that provides seating for up to 450.
“I think it’s the nicest tennis court on the entire island,” Moran said.
Then, there’s the swimming pool. With its infinity edge, the salt-water pool appears to blend into the wide open view of the blue expanse of Pacific Ocean behind it. The gunite pool is surrounded by tile and travertine stone, and if that doesn’t provide enough of a visual wow factor, it also comes equipped with submerged natural gas jets that can be ignited to create disembodied flames hovering above the water after the sun goes down. It’s a trick Watson says he picked up from a visit to Las Vegas.
“We really wanted this place to have the look and feel of a hotel. To be low maintenance, but beautiful, eye-catching,” he said.
The pool includes three starting blocks with their own separate lanes for racing, as well as a 16-foot deep central section to accommodate those willing to fling themselves off of the 7-meter diving platform, or the 3-meter springboard. There’s also two whirlpools for those who just want to relax, and a 25-meter-long kiddie pool. The swimming area also features a sauna, wet bar, grill, dining area and showers.
The inside of the home is dominated by a central atrium that gives the whole building an open, airy feeling. A pneumatic elevator that makes Star Trek-like shushing noises as it traverses between the three floors provides future-proofing for aging residents who may not be able to ascend and descend the staircases.
Two main bedrooms on the top floor feature their own amenities, such as Japanese-style open showers, as well as private lanais. They also each have a view of the beautiful waterfall to the north of the home, which can roar after a heavy rainfall, Watson said.
A guest suite on the first floor boasts two walls made from sliding glass doors that can completely recede, leaving the occupant sleeping in the great outdoors, albeit with a roof overhead to protect from East Hawaii’s sudden and frequent rain showers.
Then there are the “little touches” scattered around the house that make you realize this is no ordinary home. For instance, there is about a mile of rope lighting strung around the outer edges of the entire building, Watson said. It serves to outline and illuminate the structure’s details when the sun goes down, while also ensuring that HELCO adds Waterfalling’s owners to its Christmas card list.
All told, the home contains five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a four-car garage, a game room, media area, wet bar, chef’s kitchen and more. And for the bigshot who is never satisfied, there’s room to construct a second building just like it, Watson said.
“We have two TMKs (tax map keys),” he said. “This is just the first phase. Someone can come in here and build another building to the west.”
Watson says he believes that the Hamakua Coast is primed to “explode” with ultra-high-end, multimillion-dollar residential homes, and he and his partner want to be in on the ground floor.
“This area is ready to go,” he said.
Watson agrees that some may see such a property as overkill, but he believes he’s helping to realize the full potential of properties that would otherwise remain unused.
“This place was just 500 mac nut trees and a shack,” he said. “We turned it into something beautiful.”
For more on the property, visit WaterfallingEstate.com, or contact Kelly Moran at (808) 938-5757.
Email Colin M. Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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