State approves Kakaako plan


POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009
This story has been corrected. See below.


Kamehameha Schools has won state approval of its master plan for Kakaako, a major step toward making its 15-year vision of transforming the neighborhood into reality.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority gave the developer clearance yesterday to proceed with its master plan for 29 acres, officially called “;Kaiaulu 'O Kakaako.”;

Kamehameha will begin seeking bids to build a work-force, or affordable, housing project at the corner of Halekauwila and South streets, the site of a parking lot, to satisfy state requirements.

“;We're very pleased,”; said Kamehameha spokeswoman Ann Botticelli. “;We're pleased at the amount of support we've seen from our neighbors, members of the community and the Hawaiian community. We're pleased they like the vision as much as we do.”;

Kamehameha is very close to signing Safeway for the school's former CompUSA space along Ala Moana, Botticelli said.

Besides a 25,000-square-foot plaza along Auahi Street, Kamehameha plans to add up to 2,750 more residences in high-rises, townhomes and lofts.

At the center of it all, Kamehameha is also planning a 400,000-square-foot Asia Pacific Research Center to house biotech companies and labs next to the medical school.

Kamehameha will issue a request for proposals from developers for a residential tower at the corner of Halekauwila and South streets geared toward work-force housing.

Developers are required by the state to set aside at least 20 percent of projects for so-called reserved housing, but Kamehameha also offered to set aside an additional one-tenth of that percentage for lower-income residents.





        » Developer: Kamehameha Schools

        » Proposed projects: A Safeway at former CompUSA site, a 25,000-square-foot plaza, up to 2,750 more residences, Asia Pacific Research Center

        » First phase: Along South Street side

        » Total area: 29 acres

        » Time span: Through 15-plus years

        Source: Kamehameha Schools

HCDA's 10 present board members voted unanimously yesterday to approve the master plan, following a morning of positive testimony from members of the community, including architects, scientists and the cultural descendants of iwi potentially found within the 29 acres.

Anthony Ching, HCDA's executive director, said there was, by and large, supportive testimony throughout the public comment period that extended from March to June.

A few members of the Community Planning Advisory Council did, however, submit written testimony opposing the project.

Bob Loy from Outdoor Circle said he opposed the project because it proposes high-rises along Ala Moana, which are counter to CPAC's guiding principles of preserving open view planes.

“;Buildings built up to 400 feet high along Ala Moana will significantly block the present Mauka-Makai view plane — regardless of their physical orientation,”; said Loy.

Also, the city's primary urban development plan discourages a high-rise “;picket fence”; between downtown and Waikiki.

Friends of Kewalo Basin, which protested the Alexander & Baldwin project a few years ago, also opposed the plan.

Paulette Kaleikini, a native Hawaiian descendant of burials in Kakaako, lauded Kamehameha for speaking with her well in advance of the project.

She said Kamehameha took a pro-active approach in speaking with burial descendants, and in agreeing to an archaeological inventory survey, well before starting construction.

Kamehameha will need to consult continually with the state Historic Preservation Division and Oahu Island Burial Council while implementing its master plan.

HCDA, in January, also approved a master plan by General Growth Properties proposing up to 4,000 more residences including mid- and high-rises on 60 acres in Kakaako over 15 years.

Before starting construction, Kamehameha still will need to apply for a city building permit, as well as a development permit from HCDA, according to Ching.





        » Friends of Kewalo Basin Park Association is neutral on Kamehameha Schools' master plan for Kakaako, which was approved by the state Hawaii Community Development Authority. The above story said Friends of Kewalo Basin opposed the plan.