Editorial: Affordable senior housing
It is with much hope, and some relief, that a proposed affordable senior-rental project is back on track.
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It is with much hope, and some relief, that a proposed affordable senior-rental project is back on track. The $373 million Kalihi-Palama complex envisions 800 affordable rentals in three towers, on a 6-acre site now occupied by single-story offices of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA). The underutilized acreage sits on TheBus line, so makes sense for elderly tenants.
Residents would have to be age 62 or older, and earn no more than 60% of Honolulu’s median income ($50,640 for an individual, $57,840 for a couple). Demand among senior renters is sure to rise, given the “silver tsunami” projection that one-third of Hawaii’s population will be over 60 by 2035.
But coming up with supply to meet burgeoning demand is, obviously, more easily said than done. For it was just this week that a master development agreement was signed between HPHA and its development partner, Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) — more than a year after the project’s final environmental impact statement was accepted.
Negotiations seemed to have bogged down over financing details and the outlay of funds needed for pre-development expenses, such as an estimated $700,000 for a project cost analysis.
There’s some assurance in knowing that RHF, a nonprofit based in Long Beach, Calif., has developed and manages nearly 180 facilities nationwide, in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and owned and operated two low-income housing buildings here, the Harry & Jeannette Weinberg-Phillip Street Apartments and Pauahi Kupuna Hale.
Still, there’s much uncertainty, given that HPHA was not prepared this week to release a copy of the development agreement or to discuss new details about the project.
For an 800-unit, affordable-housing project that would seem to be a political feather in many caps, this one is proceeding in muted fashion. Let’s hope all stays on track, and that more details are forthcoming on this $373 million project.