HONOLULU — A $14 million beach restoration project described as the largest ever under taken in Hawaii is under way at Oahu’s Ewa Beach.
The project at Iroquois Point about 40 miles from Waikiki is aimed at stabilizing the beach to control sand erosion.
The plan calls for installing nine, large T-shaped rock groins along nearly a mile of shoreline. Five or six of the rock groins have been installed already.
Sand placement is expected to start the first week of April, with the project finishing up in mid-to-late summer.
In 2003, Congress approved turning over former Navy Iroquois Point housing to Texas-based Hunt Cos. Under the $84 million deal with the Navy, Hunt and its Ford Island Properties received land and housing on Oahu — including the Iroquois Point property — in exchange for infrastructure and other improvements on Ford Island.
Hunt took on the $14 million project when it still owned the beachfront 1,450-unit rental community known as The Waterfront at Puuloa. In 2012, San Francisco-based Carmel Partners bought the homes and lease on the Navy land for $311 million. Hunt has continued with the beach restoration project.
Thomas Lee, vice president of development for Hunt in Hawaii, said the developer invested more than eight years of time and permitting expenses for the beach project before it decided to sell the property.
Carmel Partners, the new owners, “wanted us to follow through with it (the restoration),” said Steve Colon, president of Hunt’s Hawaii development division. The sale proceeds are helping fund the work.
Carmel said it rents 1,450 of the renovated former military homes for between $1,800 and $3,800 per month.
According to Sea Engineering Inc., which has worked on Iroquois Point projects, beaches in Hawaii are under stress.
The company said approximately 24 percent of Oahu’s beaches experiencing sand loss or degradation since the 1940s.