Next condo tower at Ward Village unanimously approved
A state board gave the go-ahead Thursday for Howard Hughes Corp. to develop its sixth condominium tower at Ward Village in Kakaako.
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A state board gave the go-ahead Thursday for Howard Hughes Corp. to develop its sixth condominium tower at Ward
Village in Kakaako.
The unanimous approval by Hawaii Community Development Authority directors came with more or less standard conditions and didn’t deviate significantly from a recommended decision put forth in an agency staff report last week.
HCDA’s board held public hearings June 6 and 13 about the proposed 570-unit tower dubbed Ko‘ula but deferred making a decision at a meeting last week after having private discussions with a state attorney for 2-1/2 hours. The board Thursday held a similar
executive session with a state attorney for 90 minutes before issuing its decision in an 8-0 vote.
“We want to say mahalo to the HCDA board and staff for the effort they undertook to consider our application and approve Ko‘ula,” Todd Apo, senior vice president of community development in Hawaii for Texas-
based Hughes Corp., said in a statement.
Among the conditions for Ko‘ula’s development permit are a requirement to
deliver at least 64 moderately priced units in the building or elsewhere at Ward Village that satisfy HCDA’s affordable-housing rules. Alternately, Hughes Corp. can provide the agency with cash, which HCDA can use to develop affordable housing, or a
mix of moderately priced homes and cash. The
64 units equate to how many Hughes Corp. is obligated to deliver under a
requirement to make
20 percent of homes affordable to residents with moderate incomes.
Also as part of HCDA’s
approval, Ko‘ula will be
allowed to have a base that rises 75 feet before the narrow part of the tower begins. HCDA’s limit is 45 feet, but the agency in recent years has allowed tower bases between 65 and
75 feet so the bases, which mainly contain parking, can be made more engaging and visually interesting for pedestrians by cladding them with retail and residences without reducing the amount of parking.
Hughes Corp. said it will try to start offering units in Ko‘ula for sale late this year or early next year and start construction late next year.
The company has been encouraged by consumer response to its most recently approved tower, ‘A‘ali‘i, which HCDA approved in January 2017. Hughes Corp., which began ‘A‘ali‘i unit sales at the
beginning of this year, said that through July buyers signed sales contracts for 500 of 751 units in the planned tower slated to begin construction later this year.
Hughes Corp. previously said Ko‘ula will feature a condo product similar to ‘A‘ali‘i where
living spaces are smaller compared with the company’s first four towers at Ward Village. ‘A‘ali‘i is designed with studios as small as 277 square feet starting in the $500,000s. One-bedroom units as small as 430 square feet start in the $700,000s, and two-bedroom units with about 830 square feet start at about $1 million.
Also like ‘A‘ali‘i, Ko‘ula will be adjacent to a central plaza that Hughes Corp. began working on earlier this year. An initial version later this year will largely resemble a grassy lawn but will be enhanced later with
water features, pedestrian pathways, trees
and other elements.
Under a master plan for Ward Village, Hughes Corp. envisions building 16 towers and 1 million square feet of retail on its 60-acre property. Two towers, Waiea and Anaha, are done. Another two, Ae‘o and Ke Kilohana, are under construction. Until recently Ko‘ula would have been the eighth tower approved for Ward Village, but Hughes Corp. in May canceled plans for two ultraluxury towers on the former site of Ward Warehouse as part of a master-plan redesign.