Plans for 2 housing projects advance, including mixed-use tower
A hotel and condominium tower on Kapiolani Boulevard and mostly modest-priced homes on farmland in Waialua are a step closer to being developed after a Honolulu City Council committee vote Thursday.
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A hotel and condominium tower on Kapiolani Boulevard and mostly
modest-priced homes on farmland in Waialua are a step closer to being developed after a Honolulu City Council committee vote Thursday.
The Council’s Zoning
and Housing Committee
advanced the two plans along with a request by former Kamehameha Schools trustee Oswald Stender
to rezone his estate in Maunawili to allow two more homes.
The biggest project of
the three is a 400-foot
tower with 216 homes and 175 hotel units along with ground-floor restaurants and retail on a site between Ala Moana Center and Walmart fronting Kapiolani. The tower, known as Hawaii Ocean Plaza, is at 1370 Kapiolani Blvd.
Project developer California Investment Regional Center LLC, led by Johnson and Jay Fang, seeks to build the tower higher than the 250-foot limit for the site, and with more density, under city guidelines for transit-oriented development that allow such bonuses.
As a trade-off, the developer will rent 33 residential units to Hawaii households earning no more than
80 percent of Honolulu’s annual median income, and these units would remain affordable for 30 years. The affordable rentals also would be of similar size
to other residences in the tower and be accessible through the same entryways, elevators and lobby. Also, renters will have use of all amenities in the tower, including a recreation deck with a pool.
Another community benefit being offered is allowing public use of a driveway that would run under the tower between Kapiolani and Makaloa Street, along with helping the city create a bike path along Kapiolani.
Council Chairman Ernie Martin called the project
responsible and responsive to community needs. “I think at the end of the day, it will be a project that we can all be proud of,” he said.
Kobayashi said it was wonderful that the affordable homes won’t be micro-units that have been offered as affordable housing for other projects.
Committee Chairwoman Kymberly Pine said the tower will contribute to making the Kapiolani corridor diverse. No other committee members attended Thursday’s meeting.
In Waialua, local firefighter and real estate agent Aaron Jones is seeking to rezone 8 acres of farmland to develop 25 homes, of which half would be affordable to residents with moderate incomes.
The property is next to the Pa‘ala‘a Kai residential subdivision and has the support of the city Department of Planning and Permitting as well as some area residents. However, the North Shore Neighborhood Board and some other community members oppose rezoning the land.
A prior owner of the site obtained state Land Use Commission approval in 1981 to change the state-level designation of the property from agricultural to urban as part of a plan
to build 50 homes. Because of that approval, any residential development of the site requires that half the homes be affordable.
Jones told Council committee members that at current mortgage interest rates maximum prices for the affordable homes would range from $292,000 to $511,000. However, that would be if the homes were sold to single people. For a family of four, prices for the affordable homes, which Jones said might have up to five bedrooms, could range from $417,000 to $730,000.
George Massengale with Hawaii Habitat for Humanity said he’s talking with Jones to employ self-help construction to make homes affordable to families earning 30 to 60 percent of Honolulu’s median income as opposed to the current plan at 80 to
Dylan Tamaribuchi, a 26-year-old local resident who is married with a 4-month-old son, said he supports the project because affordable housing
is so hard to find.
North Shore resident
Raquel Achiu opposed the project because farmland
is being consumed by
“We are trying to hold
on to as much of our ag land as we can,” she told the committee.
Elgin Onaga, who claimed that Jones evicted him from the property as he was trying to develop a farm on the site for homeless veterans, said Jones is making the project sound better than it is. Onaga submitted a petition opposing the development he contends would add traffic amounting to five cars per house.
The last project endorsed by the committee was a request by Stender to rezone most of his 4-acre homestead from agriculture to country designation so he can double the number of homes on the site from two to four. The two new homes would be for his grandsons, Stender said.
Country zoning allows for low-density rural residential development in areas with limited agriculture potential. DPP supports the change, and grading or developing 2.7 acres of the site will be prohibited.
Final votes by the full City Council on all three projects are slated for Wednesday.