Hawaii agency chief says 35% of Kakaako’s housing units ‘affordable’

The 801 South St. project in Kakaako is one of the workforce housing projects being developed in the area. The head of the Hawaii Community Development Authority says 35 percent of the housing being developed in the area are "affordable."

The 801 South St. project in Kakaako is one of the workforce housing projects being developed in the area. The head of the Hawaii Community Development Authority says 35 percent of the housing being developed in the area are “affordable.”

A little more than one-third of the more than 4,200 units being developed in the growing Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako are not being built for the ultra-rich, the head of the Hawaii agency overseeing the redevelopment of the area said Wednesday.

With scores of high-end condominiums being built in Kakaako, much of the talk has centered around local residents being aced out of area because of not being able to afford such sky-high prices.

Anthony Ching, executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, said at the agency’s monthly meeting amongst a brand new board of directors and new office and meeting spaces at the American Brewery Building in Honolulu, said that 35 percent of all housing units in Kakaako will be for qualified income households.

This means that there is a chunk of units in Kakaako that will be reserved for those in two categories, reserved housing and workforce housing.

Reserved housing is for low or moderate income groups. The majority of “affordable housing” in Kakaako falls under this program.

These developments are available to households making anywhere from 30 percent to 140 percent of area median income, which translates to a person with an annual income between $20,150 and $80,950.

Workforce housing, unlike reserved housing, is not a requirement for residential developers under HCDA rules.

To be called a workforce housing project, the requirements are having at least 75 percent of residential units set aside for those earning between 100 percent and 140 percent area median income, which translates to an annual income for one person between $57,800 and $80,950.

Ching recently told PBN that while the condos being built in Kakaako are all high-value properties, each one has different price points and there is strong local purchase.

“Local investors, as well as occupiers, are part of the significant growth of Kakaako,” he said. “We’re focusing on trying to produce rental units — Halekauwila Place is a good example. It was built with tax credits. The tax credit program is responsible for 90 percent of all low-income housing.”

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

Office of Hawaiian Affairs looks for short-term users in Kakaako Makai

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is seeking short-term uses for several parcels in Kakaako Makai, where the agency acquired some 30 acres three years ago from the state of Hawaii in a deal meant to resolve a decades-long dispute.

Peter Apo, a trustee for OHA, told attendees at a recent Hawaii Society of Business Professionals event in Honolulu that it is looking for ideas from developers for about six lots in Kakaako Makai.

On Monday, OHA said it secured a lease with Street Grindz, the company that does Eat the Street, Honolulu Night Market and Art After Dark, at the former Fisherman’s Wharf site for “daily activities.”

“Now that we are landowners, we are on the hot seat,” Apo said at the event, which focused on the area. “We have to do something that people will feel good about. It’s a tricky navigation [process].”

He noted that OHA recently completed its first round of statewide meetings, with more on the way.

“It was a very intensive two-and-a-half weeks of direct engagement with communities across the state,” Apo said.

OHA awarded a nearly $3 million contract to a partnership of four Hawaiian firms, including Edith Kanakaole Foundation, DTL, PBR Hawaii and WCIT Architecture.

The contract, which requires its leadership team to actively get input from the Hawaiian community during the master planning for Kakaako Makai, is expected to take two years to fulfill.

The 30 acres in Honolulu that OHA acquired from the state are valued at an estimated $200 million.

Apo pointed out that all the major landowners in Kakaako, including The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) and Kamehameha Schools need to work together.

“We will never have an opportunity where you have only three landowners,” he said. “One proposal we had put out there was the three landowners putting Hawaiian plants in Kakaako, and maybe do botanical tours for children.”

Apo said the end result for Kakaako, if all three landowners are on the same page, would be developing a world-class destination for locals and visitors.

OHA’s proposal to build residential high-rises in the area was shot down by state lawmakers last year.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

California developer acquires three Honolulu properties for Kakaako condo project

MJF Development Corp. has acquired three properties where it plans to build a seven-story condominium in the growing Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako for a total of about $5 million, a spokesman for the California-based developer confirmed to PBN this week.

The 803 Waimanu St. project, which includes 153 market-priced residential units from studios to two-bedroom units, is expected to begin construction later this year and be completed in 2017.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority, which oversees the redevelopment of Kakaako, approved the project about a year ago.

MFJ Development, which is headed up by developer Franco Mola, formed Eight Zero Three Waimanu LLC for the purchase of the three parcels that total about 21,200-square-feet of land and buildings that total about 20,800 square feet, according to public records.

The industrial parcels, which occupy warehouses, are located at 803 Waimanu St., 764 Kawaiahao St. and 802 Kawaiahao St.

The original plan for the project was withdrawn in July, which called for 217 workforce units in a 250-foot tower.

PBN first reported that MJF Development submitted a scaled-down proposal for the 803 Waimanu St. project.

The development also will have a mechanized ground-floor parking system with 92 parking stalls.

The developer also plans to build another condo project at 929 Pumehana St. in Honolulu.

“Ohana Hale” is a 21-story, 180-unit affordable and workforce condo project on a 14,400-square-foot lot.

The building floor area will be about 107,999 square feet.

About 60 percent or 108 of the project’s units will be priced in the affordable range for households earning between 100 percent and 120 percent of the area median income for Honolulu.

There will be studio, one- and two-bedroom units.

MJF Development hopes to start construction on this project sometime this year.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

Little Sheep, Grand Leyenda Cantina plan Ward Centre locations

May 28, 2013, 11:20am HST
Staff Pacific Business News

A Mongolian hot pot chain called Little Sheep will open its first Hawaii restaurant later this year in the former E&O Trading Co. space in Ward Centre.

California-based Little Sheep, which features cooked meats served in a communal pot, will join Grand Leyenda Cantina, which the owners of the Just Tacos restaurants plan to open in the former Compadres space at Ward Centre this summer, according to The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), which owns Ward Centers.

“We look forward to the new merchants joining our Ward Centers’ ohana, helping to further enhance the variety of services and options we offer shoppers,” Katie Kaanapu, senior marketing manager at Ward Centers, said in a statement. “New eateries such as Grand Leyenda and Little Sheep offer shoppers unique restaurant options with everything from Mexican to Mongolian hot pot.”

The two restaurants join several other new tenants, including Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s customer service center that is relocating from the Sears store at Ala Moana Center to Ward Warehouse, CooksSpace, which opened in March in a second-floor space at Ward Warehouse, Master Pilates and Wellness, which opened at Ward Warehouse in May, Volcano Fine Electronic Cigarettes, which also opened at Ward Warehouse in May, and Nailtek, which will open at Ward Warehouse later this year.

Company Disclaimer: Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.