Kakaako affordable housing planned
The state envisions the development of a 200-unit building
The state is soliciting developers to build affordable rental housing on a 1.25-acre parcel in Kakaako now being used as a public parking lot.
The proposed project:
Area: 1.25 acres
Location: Halekauwila and Keawe streets
Project size: Up to 200 apartments
Target tenant income: 30 percent to 140 percent of median ($71,300 for a family of four)
Proposals due: January
Developer selection: April
Source: Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corp.
A request for proposals went out last week, seeking developers for the site at the makai, Diamond Head corner of Halekauwila and Keawe streets, next to Mother Waldron Park.
The site is currently leased to District Parking, which charges $6 daily and $110 monthly to park in the open, roughly paved lot.
The state-owned parcel is zoned public, said Orlando "Dan" Davidson, executive director of the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corp.
"Part of our goal is to provide housing in the urban core," Davidson said of the site. "It's in central Honolulu. We are actively investigating all state-owned land to see where the best opportunities to build affordable housing are."
The development site is near downtown Honolulu and just a block from A&B Properties' condominium tower, Keola Lai. It is also a short walk from the Ward Centers retail complex, where General Growth Properties is planning a 175-unit, market-rate rental project above the planned Whole Foods Market.
What the agency envisions is a midrise building, about 14 stories high, offering up to 200 units of affordable rentals. An informational meeting for potential developers is scheduled for the morning of Nov. 21.
Rent would have to meet U.S. Housing and Urban Development guidelines, which targets families that earn anywhere between 30 percent to 140 percent of Honolulu's $71,300 median family income.
If rent is set for individuals who make 60 percent of the median, a family of four would pay $801 for a one-bedroom apartment per month, $963 per month for a two-bedroom apartment and $1,112 for a three-bedroom apartment.
The state identified the site as having potential for affordable rentals back in 2001, Davidson said, but plans stalled.
Only 1.25 acres of the 6-acre parcel is now being offered for the development; the rest will be set aside for other uses the state has yet to identify.
Five years ago, the Kakaako Improvement Association opposed development of a different project, including a school, on the same site. The group cited concerns of overcrowding.
"It was hard to figure out what they were doing," said Don Bremner, co-chairman of government affairs for the association. "We opposed the proposal for the housing project because that was the last item overcrowding it. There were too many activities for that parcel of land. It was too dense."
The group does not yet have an official position on the latest proposal, he said.
Title to the parcel belongs to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Developers would need to obtain appropriate zone changes as well as a development permit from the state's Hawaii Community Development Authority.
Proposals for the Kakaako project are due Jan. 18. Selection and state approval of the developer is expected in April.
The site would be leased to the developer for $1 a year over 65 years, although commercial space would be subject to an additional lease rent of 20 percent of gross receipts.
The rental units -- to be owned and managed by the developer -- must remain affordable for the duration of the ground lease.
Developers will be selected on a point-based system that weighs qualifications and experience, feasibility of the overall project, range and mix of affordability, minimum use of state resources and compatibility with surrounding land uses.
Davidson said that elsewhere on Oahu, the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corp. is looking to build affordable projects on 50 acres within the Villages of Kapolei. In Waipahu an affordable-housing project called Plantation Apartments is planned on six acres of state land. When completed, it should offer 330 units in two towers.