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OHA pledges not to build condos on Kewalo Basin waterfront

By Andrew Gomes

LAST UPDATED: 1:02 p.m. HST, Feb 6, 2014

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs pledged today not to develop housing on roughly a third of its land in Kakaako -- five lots fronting Kewalo Basin -- if the Legislature approves such use on OHA land in the area.  

Peter Apo, an OHA trustee who chairs a group evaluating development of the agency's land in the area known as Kakaako Makai, said no residential development would occur on the five parcels totaling about 13 acres from the former Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant to the edge of Kakaako Waterfront Park next to the Point Panic bodysurfing site.

On this stretch of land, Apo said OHA supports a community vision for a public waterfront promenade. Some commercial development also would be possible under existing development rules.

OHA is looking at residential development on three other parcels -- two fronting Ala Moana Boulevard and one fronting the ocean just beyond the Ewa edge of the waterfront park, Apo said.

OHA has not decided what to do with its single-biggest Kakaako Makai parcel, a 7-acre lot shaped like a grand piano and known as the piano lot. This parcel was the site of a former plan by local developer Alexander & Baldwin Inc. to build three condominium towers in response to a request for proposals sought by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, a state agency that previously owned the land.

OHA received 31 acres in Kakaako Makai in 2012 to settle disputed claims with the state over unpaid ceded-land revenue.

A bill that would allow residential development on OHA's Kakaako land, House Bill 2554, is scheduled for an initial hearing Saturday at 9 a.m. by two House committees. A companion bill, Senate Bill 3122, is scheduled for its first hearing Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. by two Senate committees.

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