Some history on the Caves at Waikele

The Waikele "caves" came to Peter Savio's attention approximately ten years ago when he was serving as a consultant to a company that had won the rights to develop Ford Island Navy housing.

"What we are now calling the Caves at Waikele and leasing out as storage units are actually munitions storage facilities created prior to World War II by the Navy. The 130 cave-like compartments were dug out of solid rock in the lower portion of Kipapa Gulch adjacent to Waikele Stream and used by the Navy through the 1970s. They were totally cleared out and cleaned by the Navy when they shut them down about 20 years ago.I‚ve been watching the project, because it has always fascinated me. I saw its potential for commercial and personal storage which is in short supply in the area. However, the Ford Island housing developer, who has acquired the 500-acreproperty on a trade with the Navy, was not ready to lease it out until recently."

Savio now holds the master lease for the entire property, including each of the 4,000 square foot caves. All 140 caves have a separate, secure entrance with iron doors, heavy gauge steel walls, concrete floors, and a loading dock. Yard area for additional parking or storage is available to cave renters.

Located at the end of Pakela Street a few minutes from Waikele Shopping Center, the complex has on-site security, parking, and paved roads and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. seven days a week. The commercial storage units are 16 feet wide and 250 feet deep and include lighting and ventilation systems, which currently require a generator for operation. Savio explained that electrical service to the area was cut off a number of years ago, but he hopes to have it restored in 2006.

Guidelines for protection of the Caves rural setting have been established by the Navy and by Savio, who has expressed his intention of preserving the integrity of the natural environment and, in fact, enhancing it. "This is not going to be another industrial park," Savio said. "The Caves at Waikele is a park with industrial components. Two streams flow through the property and we will eventually be planting more native Hawaiian trees. We will leave as much as possible in its natural state and will maintain the landscaping along the roads and around the Caves."

Twenty caves have been set aside for public self storage. Waikele Self Storage, which is being developed by Peter Cannon, owner of Hawaiian Resources, will initially provide 25 to 625 square foot lockers for short and medium term rental.

"No one has ever seen storage like this before and it is a very good use of the land," Cannon said. "This facility has extremely high security and the fact that it is linear storage makes it very valuable to certain types of users, including my own company, which publishes cards and maps. The layout enables me to lay out inventory and pick orders all in one row, as opposed to zigzagging around the typical box-shaped warehouse.

"We are now ready to go and plan to rent self storage out at prices below what other storage facilities are charging." says Cannon.