When homeowners began moving into The Collection condominium last month, they took on a responsibility to help keep the new Kakaako tower in good shape by paying to maintain such things as the pool, elevators, landscaping and more.
However, a small extra monthly fee collected from each of the 465 eventual Collection owners will also benefit parts of Kakaako beyond the gleaming glass-sided building.
What’s more, Collection owners aren’t the only ones who will pay this broader community fee. Owners of existing as well as future residential and commercial buildings nearby will chip in.
The special fee is to enhance an evolving community within Kakaako through endeavors that could include public gathering spaces, educational programs, transportation services or even a community TV channel.
Owners in the new tower and an adjacent midrise condo called 400 Keawe will be the first to pay this fee — preliminarily estimated at $15 to $45 a month — for being part of Our Kakaako, a master-planned community envisioned by Kamehameha Schools covering nine blocks. The trust, which owns the SALT retail complex, rental apartments and other commercial property in the 29-acre area, also will pay community association fees.
Separately, another community association has been established a few blocks away where Howard Hughes Corp. is developing Ward Village, where condo owners will pay $25 monthly dues that could be used to pay for security patrols, advertising, public relations and maintaining public parks, plazas, common parking facilities and private roads.
The first tower at Ward Village, Waiea, opened last month. Another 15 towers are planned, of which three are under construction and units in two others are being sold within the 60-acre community.
Forming community associations for clusters of residential high-rises and commercial property in existing urban areas is something new in Hawaii.
In some ways these associations are similar to more traditional ones that exist for low-density residential communities such as Mililani or Mariners Cove and resorts such as Ko Olina or Prince-ville.
“It’s going to have a different look, but it’s not going to be that different, really,” said Richard Emery, vice president of government affairs for property management firm Associa Hawaii.
However, not all new Kakaako condo owners or prospective owners understand what these community associations entail despite developers disclosing the general arrangement and estimated fees in a dense package of documents.
A 116-page community covenant exists for Ward Village, and an 81-page community charter was produced for Our Kakaako.
But a lot of what the two community associations actually do is up to Kamehameha Schools and Hughes Corp. because they control a majority of board seats on their respective nonprofit community associations during a formative period — which could last decades — and they reserve rights to change, add or delete community amenities as they see fit.
Such a change recently riled many homeowners at Hoakalei and Ocean Pointe in Ewa Beach after developer Haseko (Hawaii) Inc. converted long-held plans for a boat marina into a lagoon.
In Kakaako the main focus for the Our Kakaako community association will be to enforce rules and maintain programs along with some amenities including public art, according to Paul Kay, director of planning and development for Kamehameha Schools.
Kay said the association isn’t expected to maintain roads owned by the trust or large public gathering places such as one envisioned at the “crossroads” of the community on the corner of Cooke and Auahi streets.
Bob Oda, senior planning and development manager for Kamehameha Schools, added that communitywide Wi-Fi and the almost monthly Honolulu Night Market events established by the trust are envisioned to become the community association’s responsibility someday.
How much or little the association does is up to its board, which is made up of representatives of different land parcel owners. In the case of a condo tower, the condo association would be the board representative. However, Kamehameha Schools can appoint a majority of the board until one of three things occurs first: the year 2061, a date it chooses or when it sells or leases
90 percent of development sites.
Oda, who serves as community association president, said an operating budget for the first three years is being established and will determine how much individual condo owners actually pay. He said the figure will be far less than an early estimate provided to condo buyers. Paying the fee will start by March.
The original monthly fee estimate for Collection condos was $15. At the 95-unit midrise condo called 400 Keawe, the estimate ranged from $16 to $45 per unit. And at Keauhou Place, a condo tower with 450 units under construction, the estimated fee is $25 for residential owners.
Our Kakaako is approved for up to 2,750 homes, which at $25 a month would generate $825,000 a year, though commercial tenants in the condo towers and Kamehameha Schools would add to that.
Often, amenities at master-planned communities are added gradually as more homes are developed. So initial homeowners can’t be certain what ultimately gets delivered and how much it will cost to maintain.
Gary Hashimoto, a condo owner who moved into
400 Keawe in May, said a lot needs to be discussed with regard to Our Kakaako community association responsibilities. “It’s going to take a lot of work,” he said.
Hashimoto said it’s somewhat awkward to have older condo towers and a warehouse complex on adjacent parcels that aren’t part of Our Kakaako, but he likes events like Night Market and looks forward to the sense of community jelling. “It’s exciting,” he said.
Matt Choy, a Collection homeowner who is also a partner in Pitch Sports Bar slated to open early next year at SALT, said he already views an open-sided warehouse space at SALT as a town square and welcomes a community association supported by members.
“I know there is a vision for the future and it’s fluid,” he said, “but I trust in the vision.”
At Ward Village the community association is envisioned to own large public gathering places as well as some roads. Community events, security patrols, common parking facilities and promotional marketing also could become responsibilities of the association.
Three landscaped public plazas covering 5 acres are planned at Ward Village, including a 3.3-acre central plaza providing a public gathering space bigger than two football fields.
Full build-out of Ward Village is approved for 4,300 homes, which could provide $1.3 million a year for the community association based on the $25 monthly fee per home. Hughes Corp. also will pay its own fees as the owner of commercial property that includes retail stores and offices within the community.
As the community’s developer, Hughes Corp. can control the Ward Village Owners Association until a date it chooses, when it sells or leases all development sites in its master plan or Dec. 31, 2045 — whichever occurs first.