‘Eco-friendly’ developers sought for NELHA lot

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KAILUA-KONA — The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority is offering a 1.3-acre lot to “eco-friendly” developers along what the county thinks will be a major road in West Hawaii’s future.

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KAILUA-KONA — The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority is offering a 1.3-acre lot to “eco-friendly” developers along what the county thinks will be a major road in West Hawaii’s future.

Proposals from those interested in developing the site are due to NELHA by 3 p.m. Jan. 6.

In November, NELHA began construction for a portion of a frontage road to run alongside Queen Kaahumanu Highway.

The frontage road will extend Kaiminani Drive makai of the highway and put a traffic signal light at the intersection.

It will be one of the few fully signalized four-way intersections on the improved highway between the airport and Kailua-Kona.

Kahilihili Street also will be extended via the frontage road project, connecting the extended Kaiminani Drive with Makako Bay Drive.

The improvements are necessary because the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway will restrict access to NELHA to right turns made from the southbound lanes.

The frontage road is expected to be finished by late next year and it’s going to open up commercial opportunities in the area, according to a request for interest from NELHA.

The document indicates Kahilihili Street is envisioned to be a “major secondary road for commercial, industrial and retail development” in the area between Kailua-Kona and the airport.

The available lot is a 1.3-acre parcel situated along Kaiminani Drive between the highway and Kahilihili Street, about a half-mile south of the airport.

The use of the area is restricted only to developers’ imaginations and county zoning laws.

That said, the agency does have a few goals of its own in mind.

In addition to providing new commercial retail opportunities, NELHA also wants to “brand the development … as a site for sustainable development, demonstration of renewable energy products and a living laboratory for green technologies.”

In short, the agency said, it wants to hear from companies that can develop an eco-friendly site, use resources readily available at NELHA and use materials to “make the product as close to ‘net zero energy’ as possible.”

According to the agency’s selection criteria, a proposal’s “innovation and inclusion of sustainable and renewable technologies” is worth 20 of 100 points.

Proposals, it said, should explain how the developer will fulfill its services and follow through from design to development and possible operation.

The request for interest says potable water and power services will be made available to the boundary of the property at NELHA’s expense.

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There aren’t any known environmental or archaeological issues at the site, although development would require an environmental assessment.

Email Cameron Miculka at cmiculka@westhawaiitoday.com.