Demand is sky high for condo near Ala Moana
Demand for new high-rise homes around Ala Moana appears to be keeping good pace with a recent boomlet of planned towers in the area.
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Demand for new high-rise homes around Ala Moana appears to be keeping good pace with a recent boomlet of planned towers in the area, based on interest in the latest project to hit the market.
Prospective buyer interest has exceeded availability at the planned 390-unit Sky Ala Moana condominium at 1388 Kapiolani Blvd. mauka of Ala Moana Center.
The project’s developer said the response has prompted moving up construction to start by the end of this year instead of next year, provided that building permits come through.
“We are quite pleased with the public’s response to our vision for new lifestyle and convenient living within the Ala Moana district,” said Christine Camp, CEO of local development firm Avalon Group, which partnered with Tokyo-based investment firm Capbridge Group to produce the estimated $510 million, two-tower project, which includes a 300-unit hotel.
SKY ALA MOANA
>> Towers: 2 (1 condo, 1 mostly hotel)
>> Stories: 43
>> Condo prices: $568,800 to $1.3 million*
>> Condos for sale: 390*
>> Estimated development cost: $510 million
* Excludes 84 affordable condos not yet available for sale
Sky Ala Moana homes are priced from $568,800 to $873,800 for one-bedroom/one-bathroom units with 519 to 574 square feet of living space, and from $785,300 to $1.3 million for two-bedroom/two-bathroom units with 801 to 901 square feet.
A Sky Ala Moana sales gallery opened April 1, and as of Friday buyers had signed 152 contracts to buy 195 condos available to the general public, including investors. An additional 195 units are reserved for owner- occupants, and about 290 applications have been submitted to purchase those units through a lottery scheduled for today.
In all, 442 contracts or applications have been received. Some applications for owner-occupant units might not result in sales because more than one applicant may be interested in the same unit. Still, Camp described demand as brisk.
The project also includes 84 more affordable condos that will be on the lower floors of the east tower containing the hotel. Under an agreement with the city, these homes must be affordable to residents earning no more than 120 percent of Honolulu’s median income, and some units will be affordable to buyers earning no more than the median income, which is about $81,700 for a single person and $116,600 for a family of four.
Affordable unit sales haven’t begun. Maximum prices haven’t been set, but could be around the mid-$300,000s for studios up to around the low $500,000s for two-bedroom units. The units will be offered initially with limitations on resales lasting 30 years to maintain affordability over that period, though it’s possible the requirement could be reduced to 20 or 10 years if the units go unsold.
Todd Yamamoto, a 34-year-old information technology administrator for nonprofit broadcaster ‘Olelo, visited the Sky Ala Moana sales gallery Friday and entered the lottery. He said he liked the location and amenities but had concerns about how hotel guests would affect the project’s recreation deck, which includes a main pool, lap pool and central lawn.
The developer is making all amenities available to condo owners, including a fitness center and spa slated to be in the hotel tower. Hotel guests, however, will be limited to those facilities along with the pools, central lawn and two meditation gardens. Amenities reserved for condo owners include children’s play areas, a dog park, grills, cabanas, two dining/party rooms and a media room.
John Mai, a Locations real estate agent representing Yamamoto, said it’s a good time to be a homebuyer, given the growing supply, especially with new condo towers around Ala Moana and Kakaako.
“There are a lot of options,” he said.
Sky Ala Moana is the third condo tower in the Ala Moana area where sales have begun since late last year. The other two are The Central Ala Moana and Azure Ala Moana.
At Azure, which is under construction on Keeaumoku Street mauka of a Walgreens store, about 240 of 330 condos have been sold. Available units are priced from about $715,000 to $2.2 million. At The Central nearby on Kapiolani Boulevard, about 460 of 512 units have been sold at prices from $286,000 to $1.4 million.
A fourth planned tower in the area, Hawaii City Plaza on Sheridan Street next to Walmart, has yet to start sales for 147 condos priced from $656,000 to $1.2 million.
New home production elsewhere on Oahu includes towers in Kakaako and single-family homes and townhomes at Ho‘opili in Ewa that are sapping some demand from the resale market, where sales fell 8% for single-family homes and 3% for condos last year.
This year through March, resales are down 6% and 11%, respectively.