COURTESY COOKE CLAYTON LLC
A developer took a step closer yesterday to bringing some 47 low-rise lofts to the Kapiolani corridor. Prices for the units have not been set, though the project plans to target young professionals and empty-nesters.
Kakaako loft redevelopment can go ahead
The state approves a plan for the NCR building
DEVELOPERS of an urban loft-style mixed-use project at the NCR building at 720 Kapiolani Blvd. won state approval yesterday to go forward with their project.
Cooke Clayton LLC plans more than 40 units of residential lofts, along with a parking structure and about 6,000 square feet of retail space fronting Kapiolani Boulevard.
The project -- which has no name yet -- will refurbish part of the building at the site while constructing a new six-story building of equal height next door. The two buildings will be connected.
"It's the only project I know of where you have a new building adjacent to the old one, and they're tied together," said partner Chris Deuchar. "There's nothing like it in Honolulu."
Lauding the project as a creative reuse of an existing structure, the state Hawaii Community Development Authority board granted Cooke Clayton a development permit yesterday.
"It's a very unique project," said HCDA's executive director Daniel Dinell. "It's a good example of where we're trying to go with smaller, mauka lot developments."
The project site is bound by Kapiolani Boulevard and Cooke and Clayton streets, with Hawaiian Electric Co. as a rear neighbor.
Cooke Clayton sought two modifications to existing state development rules, which the company presented before the development agency in July. The company wanted to build higher than currently allowed, to a 60-foot height, with a more generous rear setback that would allow for more parking. More than 100 parking stalls are planned.
The state approved both modifications. Without them, Deuchar said Cooke Clayton would have gone back to the drawing board, with new designs at a higher cost.
Deuchar said the low-rise lofts would be similar to ones in the South of Market district in San Francisco, the Pearl District in Portland, Ore., and downtown Denver.
No prices have been set for the loft units yet, though Cooke Clayton expects to target a middle market of young professionals and downsizing empty-nesters.
The plans call for about 47 lofts measuring between 620 to 1,000 square feet, with two parking stalls per unit, and ceiling heights above 10 feet tall.
There could possibly be a rooftop deck, but none of the fancy amenities in Kakaako's more recently developed high-rise condominiums.
Cooke Clayton will seek county building permits by the end of the year, and targets starting construction in the first quarter of next year.
HCDA Chairman Michael Goshi called the redevelopment of the NCR building a "landmark" project that could be a model for others to follow.
Partners of Cooke Clayton also are developing several other projects, including new residential condos in Waikiki and in Poipu Beach, Kauai.
Cooke Clayton bought the NCR building from the nonprofit labor group Unity House Inc. in early 2005 for about $6 million. Unity House had bought it for $5 million in 1998 from a unit of NCR Corp., which paid $15.5 million for it in 1991.