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Hawaii: Redevelopment of Ford Island and Management of the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex/Navy Region Hawaii

Agency: U.S. Navy

Criteria for ACHP Involvement:

  • The Navy’s management and redevelopment activities in Hawaii have the potential to adversely affect a large number of historic properties, including the U.S. Naval Base Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark (Criterion 1).

  • Proposed development of a Programmatic Agreement will alter the way the Section 106 process is applied to management activities at the Naval Region Hawaii (Criterion 2).

  • There is substantial public controversy regarding the Navy’s proposed redevelopment of Ford Island at Pearl Harbor (Criterion 3).

Recent Developments

In January 2002, ACHP executed agreements with the Navy and consulting parties for the Ford Island redevelopment Master Development Agreement, as well as for the construction of approximately 140 housing units on the island at Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark (NHL).

Ford Island, Hawaii



Ford Island, HI (staff photo)



As a result of the Section 106 consultation, the Navy agreed to lower the number of housing units to be constructed on Ford Island from 180 to 140 and to revise substantially the street pattern of the new neighborhood to minimize its encroachment on the historic airfield.

The agreement also recognizes Native Hawaiian concerns by incorporating Native Hawaiian names for the new streets and including plaques interpreting Native Hawaiian history in the neighborhood. The Master Development Agreement establishes a framework for continued consultation regarding individual projects and encourages the Navy to seek out opportunities to rehabilitate and reuse the historic properties on Ford Island through the partnership with a private developer.

Historic preservation opportunities relating to the Master Development Agreement was the focus of a workshop held in fall 2001. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which named Ford Island to its 2001 list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, assembled the team of experts, including ACHP members Bruce Judd and Ray Soon. The workshop was well received by members of the development community and is likely to have a positive influence on the proposals for Ford Island.

In addition to the agreements regarding the Ford Island redevelopment, the Navy has also signed another Programmatic Agreement (PA) to address overall management of historic properties within Navy Region Hawaii. Final execution of the document is being considered by the consulting parties. The PA has been under negotiation between the Navy, ACHP, the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Office, the National Park Service, the National Trust, the Historic Hawaii Foundation, the Oahu ACHP of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Outdoor Circle, the USS Arizona Memorial, and MISSOURI Memorial Association, Inc.


The Pearl Harbor Naval Complex is the Navy’s largest and most strategic base in the Pacific. Encompassing more than 12,600 acres of land and water, it serves as the headquarters of five major fleet commands. More than 1,200 of the buildings and structures constructed during the base’s 100-year history are included in the U.S. Naval Base Pearl Harbor NHL, which was designated in 1964. The NHL designation commemorates the 1941 Japanese attack on the base that propelled the United States into World War II, as well as the strategic role the base has played through time in the Pacific.

In addition, the base contains important Native Hawaiian archeological sites, including traditional stone-walled fishponds. (For more information on historic properties at Pearl Harbor, visit, select “Visitor Information,” and then choose visual tours of either historic or present Pearl Harbor.)

In 1979, the Navy, the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Officer, and ACHP entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the management of the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex. The agreement is more than 20 years old and, measured against today’s standards, including 1997 Navy guidance on planning for historic properties, needs to be updated and improved. Although the MOA called for periodic reviews, none were initiated, and properties were not re-evaluated to determine if their management by the Navy was still appropriate.

Problems with the 1979 MOA were highlighted by the Navy’s 1998 plans for the redevelopment of Ford Island. Ford Island is located in the harbor and contains buildings and structures associated with its historic use as officer housing and a naval air station. The Japanese attack focused on the Pacific Fleet ships moored around the island and on the hangars and airfield on the island itself.

Traditionally, the island was accessible only by ferry, but in 1998 a bridge was constructed between the island and the mainland. That access will facilitate a proposed $500 million master plan that, as originally proposed, would include 600 homes for Navy personnel, a Navy museum, and other development.

Because of the Navy’s Ford Island redevelopment plans, the National Park Service named Naval Base Pearl Harbor to its list of threatened NHLs. In April 2001, the Navy issued a Request for Proposals for a Master Development Agreement for the Ford Island redevelopment. (For more information on the Ford Island redevelopment, visit www.hawaii. and select “Ford Island Development.”)

At a February 1999 ACHP meeting in Hawaii, ACHP members gained first-hand understanding of the complexities of the Navy’s Ford Island plans, as well as the Navy’s challenges in managing numerous obsolete and deteriorated facilities within the Naval Complex. Concern voiced by ACHP members has resulted in the Navy’s willingness to revisit the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex MOA and expand its scope.

The new PA will apply to the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex (including the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility) and to outlying naval installations on Oahu and the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on Kauai, but will exclude redevelopment of Ford Island.

In connection with the development of the PA, the Navy is preparing an Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan that will be implemented by the PA upon its acceptance by the consulting parties.

Staff contact: Lee Keatinge

Updated May 6, 2003

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