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Forest City selected to build Super Tower in Kakaako

By Andrew Gomes

LAST UPDATED: 11:58 a.m. HST, Dec 13, 2012

The Hawaii Community Development Authority today selected Ohio-based developer Forest City Enterprises Inc. to build a potential 650-foot rental apartment tower in Kakaako.

Forest City beat out Australia-based Lend Lease to develop the project known as 690 Pohukaina. At 650 feet, the tower would be 250 feet above current height limits.

The state agency unanimously picked Forest City’s $293 million project in a vote by its nine board members. The agency now will work to negotiate a detailed development agreement with the developer.

Forest City proposed 804 rental units in a single 650-foot tower or two smaller towers. Of those units, 390 would be affordable to tenants earning no more than 120 percent of Honolulu’s median income. Another 390 would be for tenants earning up to 140 percent of the median income. There also would be 24 luxury penthouse apartments.

Lend Lease proposed 1,002 fee-simple condominium units for sale in two towers. Of those units, 526 would be affordable to people earning no more than 140 percent of Honolulu’s median income. The other 476 units would be sold at market prices.

A committee of three agency board directors scored the two proposals, and out of a maximum 500 points Forest City scored 480 to Lend Lease’s 461.

Forest City outscored Lend Lease in each of four criteria areas — experience, concept, financing plan and state benefit.

Construction is projected to begin as early as mid-2016, with completion three years after that.

Before construction can start, the agency has to complete an environmental impact statement and modify development rules to allow the 650-foot height limit.

The tower is to be built on a 2-acre site owned by the state and bordered by Keawe Street, Pohukaina Street and Mother Waldron Park.

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W_Williams wrote:
We need a 650 foot tall building like we need a hole in the head. Why so high? So the rich can live above the rest of us??????
on December 13,2012 | 10:39AM
iwanaknow wrote:
The air is more pure at that height ya?
on December 13,2012 | 10:43AM
AhiPoke wrote:
I doubt that "the rich" would buy into a project where they would be significantly outnumbered by people earning no more than 140% of the median income.
on December 13,2012 | 12:03PM
Fred01 wrote:
Yes. What's your problem with rich people?
on December 13,2012 | 01:05PM
billso wrote:
This is being built as affordable housing.
on December 13,2012 | 04:03PM
FLIPTOP2 wrote:
Amen! This is just the beginning of more of this stuff. Unbelievable. All in the name of money for the developers! Awe!!!
on December 13,2012 | 04:58PM
ISCREAM wrote:
Actually this is not the developers plan. This is the new Eco Development...move everybody into urban areas...concentrate them so that they can use bus and rail...farm land and country is only gonna be owned by government and Eco organizations like the Environmental Defense fund (you think I'm kidding...look it up... try google eco nazi).
on December 13,2012 | 08:23PM
ISCREAM wrote:
No more "rich" people...economic redistribution gonna tax them out of existence....can't have anyone getting rich...all gotta be poor.
on December 13,2012 | 08:19PM
iwanaknow wrote:
The higher you go the more pure da air?
on December 13,2012 | 10:43AM
CloudForest wrote:
Build it like Dubai - go 2,200 feet and make a statement to the world that Honolulu is open for business!!
on December 13,2012 | 10:50AM
Leinanij wrote:
We are not Dubai. Please move there if that's what you want.
on December 13,2012 | 11:02AM
Kapcity wrote:
We need it more higher than that!!
on December 13,2012 | 12:37PM
Manoa_Hawaiian wrote:
The 804 affordable rental units are badly needed for Hawaii's working citizens. This will be the first affordable project of any size on Oahu for about a decade. Lets get more affordable rental units on ALL islands.
on December 13,2012 | 11:01AM
aomohoa wrote:
These are affordable. How?
on December 13,2012 | 11:22AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
There are 29 condos already set for development in Kaka'ako. All conform to existing height limits. Why make this one an exception?
on December 13,2012 | 11:44AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Excellent point. Why don't they just make two towers, 325 ft each instead.
on December 13,2012 | 01:47PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Tiny 2 acre lot.
on December 13,2012 | 05:16PM
ramsey wrote:
"Before construction can start, the agency has to complete an environmental impact statement and modify development rules to allow the 650-foot height limit." You have to love Hawaii government. Set rules for the good of the island and then modify the rules when it fits their needs.
on December 13,2012 | 11:15AM
localguy wrote:
ramsey - Our bureaucrats wrote those rules to keep out the little guys. For the big guys they require a pay off to approve the construction. Only in the Nei do we have rules that can be changed with a wink and a nod plus the passing of lots of cash and other special favors. Our bureaucrats have zero integrity, best ones money can buy.
on December 13,2012 | 01:46PM
keys4me wrote:
I agree.
on December 13,2012 | 08:46PM
csdhawaii wrote:
Hmmm...well, let's hope that doesn't bring the value of the neighborhood down. Having such a high number of rentals doesn't bode well for property value, since unfortunately most renters just don't take good care of the places they rent.
on December 13,2012 | 11:23AM
aomohoa wrote:
I find it hard to believe that these are affordable.
on December 13,2012 | 11:25AM
RetiredUSMC wrote:
Affordable for Mainlanders to retire to then go back home and let their kids take them over!
on December 13,2012 | 03:17PM
pridon wrote:
Affordable because they will be shoe box size. $350, 000 for 400 sq ft.
on December 13,2012 | 03:52PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The Troll Tower Saga....

Why do we need to go to 650 feet? Why not retain the existing 400 feet limit? The difference in number of affordable units is not an argument - the developer could set aside the same number and hike the prices of the market units. There is no shortage of buildable sites - there are 29 condos of 400 feet planned in Kaka'ako already. So, other than a) increase developer profit, b) make Troll Towers a legacy and 3) create a variance that all other developers can use as a precedent....someone explain why we should permit this and why this is a good thing?

on December 13,2012 | 11:43AM
localguy wrote:
Maneki_Neko - Answer is easy, our elected bureaucrats need to supplement their income so they hit up the developer for "special fees" and the rules just disappear for them. Yes, we have the best bureaucrats money can buy.
on December 13,2012 | 01:49PM
cojef wrote:
The bureaucrats wants to make a "Statement" that HAwaii, welcomes development, so watch out, this is the beginning of the building boom for high-risers.
on December 13,2012 | 04:02PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
Nah, just like the bait and switch used to sell the rail this 650 ft tower is the red hering so we are so grateful that they are only building a 560 ft tower.
on December 13,2012 | 05:55PM
Ulalei wrote:
Pretty accurate how the artist rendering has all that mold on the building, considering that's what will happen to it when the money runs out half-way into construction.
on December 13,2012 | 11:44AM
kailua1044 wrote:
AUWE! no matter the architecture, an eyesore and horrible precedent! absolutely HORRIBLE!
on December 13,2012 | 11:46AM
aomohoa wrote:
This belongs in Dubai not Oahu!
on December 13,2012 | 02:39PM
Descartes22 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 13,2012 | 12:04PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
It doesn't surprise that Forest City Enterprises is listed by OpenSecrets.org as one of Obama's Super Bundlers. The company, run by the Ratner family, is a big player in high stakes politics. Here is the extract from just one famil members' campaign conribution reports:

2012....Ratner, Deborah and Ron.....Cleveland, OH.....Forest City Enterprises......$494,445

Gee whiz, I'm sure there is no connection, no connection at all......the Lend Lease Aussies are going "Blimey, mate, what's a guy got to do?"

on December 13,2012 | 12:20PM
Allenk wrote:
It looks like a witches hat! Horrible design.
on December 13,2012 | 12:57PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Is that algae growing on it???
on December 13,2012 | 01:11PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
What IS that green stuff?
on December 13,2012 | 05:18PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
The developer's money.
on December 13,2012 | 05:56PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
So are our politicians so solidly owned by developers that the state can choose who is going to build a tower that is half again as tall as our permitting allows them to be?!

Anybody who wonders what the PLDC is going to look like, it's going to look just like this.
on December 13,2012 | 01:24PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
So... this is what the PLDC is going to look like.
on December 13,2012 | 01:26PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Forest City Enterprises is run by the Ratner family. The Ratners were publicly identified as one of the "Super Bundlers" for the Obama campaign in 2012. Two family members alone donated nearly a half million dollars. Of course massive bundling of campaign contributions had nothing - nothing! - to do with the selection of this firm or the force behind pushing this project forward when the people don't want it.
on December 13,2012 | 02:38PM
pridon wrote:
They were also involved in the Navy housing projects over past few years. This is Transit Oriented Development at it "finest"
on December 13,2012 | 03:54PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The people who live here...where will they work? If in the downtown area there is no need for a train...it's a few blocks to walk. Who will live in Troll Towers and commute to Waipahu? Train doesn't go to Waikiki. Ala Moana? We need a $5 billion train to get from Pohukaina Street to Ala Moana?....that makes no sense at all.

So, how does this advance the goals of TOD? Huh? Huh?

on December 13,2012 | 05:20PM
ISCREAM wrote:
Like it or not...this is TOD...
on December 13,2012 | 08:26PM
islandsun wrote:
LIke we need a super tower here. These politicians suck big time.
on December 13,2012 | 01:46PM
alohacharlie wrote:
And how are all of those living there going to be able to evacuate when something really bad happens, especially those living at or near the top?
on December 13,2012 | 01:48PM
iwanaknow wrote:
No worry, they all have a "golden" parachute, remember (they climb into their "flying squirrel jump suits" and glide to safety). Those who own/rent near the top have multitudes of residences around the World and they just won't be here when a disaster hits.
on December 13,2012 | 03:41PM
cojef wrote:
Parachutes if you are lucky, otherwise jump and use it like a slide.
on December 13,2012 | 04:04PM
jusjoking wrote:
Governor Napolean first comes out with the ridiculous idea that no one can make a profit on 400 ft. rental develepments and declares his desire to change height limits to encourage new building.Then both groups interested in doing this development just last month propose alternate plans for building this affordable project without exceeding existing height limits as well as this plan for a monument to urban blight. If they felt lower buildings could be built and meet the number of units required and still make their profit margin why in the world is a 650ft tower even under consideration by anyone not insane????
on December 13,2012 | 02:39PM
FACE wrote:
i am excited about the design - look at that soaring picture! and only in Hawaii would a project like this be aimed at ordinary working families. Bravo HCDA!
on December 13,2012 | 03:15PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Face, you jest ya?
on December 13,2012 | 03:42PM
mcc wrote:
Keep this up and we are the next New York. Whats wrong with the 40 story limit. So sad, what no rules do to the enviroment for the sake of MONEY.
on December 13,2012 | 03:38PM
islandsun wrote:
The first one isnt so bad. Its the 10-20 that follow.
on December 13,2012 | 06:14PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Horrible horrible horrible! Horrible.
on December 13,2012 | 03:50PM
islandsun wrote:
One is novelty. Its when the rest are built that it will destroy the skyline.
on December 13,2012 | 04:09PM
ichiban wrote:
Gov. Abercrombie needs this project 'cause he needs revenue stream for "The Rail System". Amazing the development is along the corridor where the rail supposed to be built. Keep tabs on future land rezoning in structure height and density limitations adjacent to areas where the rail system runs. There goes the neighborhood all thanks to your friendly government lackeys.
on December 13,2012 | 04:27PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Note that a 650 foot building is proposed for a 2 acre lot. That essentially means there will be a narrow strip of open space around the perimeter of Troll Towers. Is this what the future of Kaka'ako is to be? A series of tall buildings without set backs, without greenery and lawn areas, without any area for humans to actually live?

Now, remember this is being advanced by a 9 person Board who I will bet dollars to donuts that you cannot name 3 people on it./ Their decision can change forever the skyline - and ground areas - of a large piece of Oahu. Is this what YOU want?

And then Abercrombie wants the PLDC which could accomplish all this p;us exempt the project from land use and zoning protections and do it all with a Board quorum of 3 people, appointed by himself. Wake up, Hawaii. Wake up!

on December 13,2012 | 05:14PM
bobbob wrote:
this tower is his legacy project. He has small man syndrome so needs to "stand tall" over everyone else.
on December 13,2012 | 07:21PM
goofyfoot808 wrote:
Good luck when the power goes out and you have to march down thousands of steps to use the toilet in the park.
on December 13,2012 | 06:38PM
WKAMA wrote:
Amazing! First the people gripe because the light rail project above ground would be an eyesore. Now what about the 650 foot tower?
on December 13,2012 | 06:45PM
sailfish1 wrote:
These units are not going to be "affordable". Factor in the insurance, maintenance, and operation costs and only the rich will be able to rent/buy there. Besides, when does "affordable" mean 120% or 140% of the median income? "Affordable" should be for people making less than the median income. Another thing, when people talk about the homeless, they often mention the need for "affordable" housing - no way a homeless person can rent a unit in this building.
on December 13,2012 | 08:05PM
tiki886 wrote:
You are confusing the word 'affordable' with 'public housing'. The term affordable was coined and defined by the US Census Bureau and every government agency uses and understands that terminology.
on December 13,2012 | 08:34PM
keys4me wrote:
It's way too tall. remember, no matter what they charge, this is a for profit business. should they be allowed to mar the sky line?? and where on earth are all the tenents going to park?
on December 13,2012 | 08:45PM
radianthawaii wrote:
I don't think we should become high density. The height is an abomination. Height limits were set for a reason, to prevent the theft of our natural beauty, and island lifestyle. We have to give a damn about natural beauty, congestion and traffic, because the builders don't.
on December 13,2012 | 08:53PM
CloudForest wrote:
Change the zoning for the entire southern half of Oahu and make the new "limit" - NOT TO EXCEED THE KOOLAUS. That way no one can look into Kaneohe or Kailua, otherwise - go for it!
on December 13,2012 | 09:25PM
tiki886 wrote:
The higher the condo the more people per square foot of land can be used efficiently. Higher condos in urban Honolulu is the answer to sprawling single family dwellings on the Ewa plane where only a few families can live on an acre of limited land area.
on December 13,2012 | 09:30PM
chstephie wrote:
Omg that is one ugly building hope they do not build it
on December 13,2012 | 10:25PM
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