The Obamas were recently in Hawaii to check on the well-underway construction at their new multimillion-dollar Hawaii mansion near Honolulu, together with its seawall that is causing so much controversy. Nearby neighbors in the Waimanalo community are concerned that it will further erode the fragile beachline fronting the stunning turquoise ocean.
As you may recall, the property was purchased by close friend Marty Nesbitt, in 2015 for a cost of just under $9 million. Previously it was also the home where the Magnum PI mansion was located, nearby Waimanalo Beach. It was torn down as a result of disrepair in 2018.
Three homes are in construction at present on the beachfront compound, which includes two swimming pools and a security fence. The property sits nestled nearby the Koolau Mountains with a spectacular view of Waimanalo Bay.
Former President Barack Obama became known for spending Christmas holidays on Oahu, in a rented home at Kailua Bay, near Kailua Beach, during his presidency. In recent years, they have come to spend yet more time in Hawaii.
Controversial sea wall.
More recently, it came to public awareness that a plan was underway to retain a 100-year old sea wall on the beach at Obama’s coastal estate. That however was not in the interest of environmentalists and neighbors due to beach erosion. The issue is that the sea wall can further contribute to the beach’s erosion by impacting the natural flow of the ocean.
An apparent loophole in the law permitted the 2015 sellers of the massive compound to obtain an easement on public land for a one-time payment of $61K, just before it was sold. They asked officials for a 55-year lease of the public property underneath the century-old sea wall, which in turn gave the new property owners, the Obamas, the right to keep the concrete structure in place. That led to the building permits that are resulting in the current construction. While more than 100 such easements were created in the past two decades, they are nonetheless controversial, according to environmental experts, and are a primary cause of beach loss. Many consider such easements to be a planning loophole by the county in terms of environmental sustainability.
It appears that at one time, it was believed that these structures were a well-intended way to preserve coastal properties and were not the main cause of beach loss. Now, however, it has become clear that in fact they are contraindicated in relation to preserving Hawaii’s natural coastlines. Such structures do not protect the shoreline, however, and in fact directly result in existing beach loss by interrupting the ocean’s natural flow, according to scientists. These are at odds with modern laws.
As a result, the beach fronting Obama’s property is virtually devoid of sand due to the coastal damage.
Marty Nesbitt, who is now chair of the Obama Foundation board, addressed the issue of the sea wall being the main case of beach loss, saying “it was consistent with and informed by the analysis of our consultants, and the laws, regulations, and perspectives of the State of Hawaii.
See YouTube video of the spectacular location prior to the construction.
See Google map of location below:
The former historic Robin’s Nest mansion will have a whole new look.
Before Rob moved to Hawaii, his weekly dose of Aloha in the 1980s was watching Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I. Rob wanted that life here in the islands, wearing the famous Aloha Shirt as Magnum did, and living in that 9,000 sq. ft. oceanfront home. When Rob drove by its location at Waimanalo, he would always try to take a peek. Now the home that served as the fictional “Robin’s Nest,” is back in the news again as it gets a presidential makeover.
The original 8,500 square foot home on three acres of oceanfront land, was built in 1933 and the sellers of the property received $8.7 million for it in 2015. Up until 2015, any residence over 50 years old needed a historical review before it could be demolished. That’s no longer the case unless it is on the national historical register or in a historic district.