Kalaeloa development faces key vote today
The Hawaii Community Development Authority envisions housing and commercial construction
The Hawaii Community Development Authority is scheduled today to vote on a proposed master plan calling for the redevelopment of the Barbers Point Naval Air Station into a $3.3 billion mixed-use community.
The agency's plan envisions the Kalaeloa area as a densely developed, pedestrian-friendly place where some 6,000 new townhouses and apartments would be interspersed with commercial developments located near light industrial areas -- all built alongside mass transit lines. The HCDA also has proposed setting aside space for "eco-industrial" facilities, such as solar energy generators, as well as extensive land for conservation and recreation.
A first phase calls for more than 2,600 new housing units valued at about $1.1 billion to be built by 2012, and another 2,200 units valued at about $855 million to be built by 2020. A third phase, to be completed by 2025, would add another 1,500 homes. Thirty percent of the units are to be sold as affordable housing.
Notwithstanding such details, the master plan being voted on today is more a vision than a prescription of what will be built and when. Although the state authority will be in charge of infrastructure to support the redevelopment of Kalaeloa, it envisions private developers stepping in to build a village of offices, shops, industrial workplaces and homes. The Kalaeloa development area includes about 3,700 acres and is near the fast-growing areas of Kapolei and the site of a proposed West Oahu campus of the University of Hawaii.
"It's very much market-driven," said Daniel Dinell, executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority. "What we have produced in this master plan is a framework to unleash the economic and social value of Kalaeloa. It's impossible to say this will occur in this year and this will occur in that year."
The timetables do specify when the authority intends to have infrastructure in place to support the private development, Dinell said.
The vote on the Kalaeoloa master plan comes as Hawaii Community Development Authority faces criticism for a plan to redevelop the Kakaako waterfront into a mixed-use village encompassing shops, markets, park space, an amphitheater and some 630 condominiums. The HCDA has brought in A&B Properties as the private developer of the waterfront project, and as part of the plan the authority would sell A&B about 6.5 acres of taxpayer-owned land where the developer would build two condo towers.
Critics have decried the Kakaako proposal, saying the state should not sell public land to a luxury condo developer, particularly waterfront land in Honolulu.
The proposed Kalaeloa development differs sharply from the Kakaako plan. Kalaeloa housing units, for instance, would consist of townhomes or apartments in three- to five-story buildings, and not in high-rise towers. There also are no plans to build anything near the coastline. Perhaps most important, the state doesn't own the land that would be redeveloped, and the HCDA is acting only as a planning and zoning agency.
The land in Kalaeloa is owned by a variety of entities, including federal agencies like the Navy and Coast Guard; state agencies such as the departments of Education, Transportation and Hawaiian Homelands; and private owners, including a subsidiary of Texas-based Hunt Building Co., which has about 53 acres of land that formerly was used for military housing.
The Navy has another 492 acres that it plans to sell, much of it located of it in what will be the heart of Kalaeloa's Main Street. This property is being brokered by Hunt Building's Ford Island Properties subsidiary, Dinell said, but he added that Ford Island Properties could opt to buy the property from the Navy rather than brokering its sale to someone else.
Dinell said he was optimistic that the project will avoid the snares that have stalled the Kakaako project.
"I think we've gone through a very good process, incorporating community concerns and input, and we're optimistic that this is an opportune time to finally move Kalaeloa forward," he said.