Residents concerned about rapid development in Kakaako

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Imagine Kakaako being more like Denver or Portland. That’s what the Hawaii Community Development Authority envisions. They are sharing that vision with the public who are not completely sold on the ideas.

It could mean taller condominiums which will be a different look and feel for the Blaisdell and even a hotel based in Kakaako.

It’s part of the plan to create a compact walkable and livable community in Kakaako.

“The best transportation choice is just to live here,” HCDA executive director Anthony Ching said.

On Thursday night, HCDA held its first open house sharing its transit-oriented development plan with about 50 people. It’s to show residents what Kakaako could look like and how it can be better used.

“We’re not trying to shoehorn the most possible people into the smallest possible area,” Ching said.

Another part of the state agency’s vision has to do with the Neal Blaisdell Center.

HCDA is suggesting that a new high-rise, affordable housing, multiplex cinema and park be added to the Blaisdell. It is giving developers a chance to propose to the City how to do it.

“I’m not against it. What I’m against is bad construction and what I think they’re trying to do here is the worst form of construction. No one’s thinking,” Kakaako resident Isaac Smith said.

“I think development is inevitable, especially in this area, but what we’re concerned about is smart development,” Kakaako resident Bernard Nunies said.

Residents KHON2 talked to say they’re also concerned about HCDA raising the height limits of some of the new buildings.

“It’s also logical and it adds a diversity character and personality to our area,” Ching said.

HCDA says even though they’re calling this a plan, it does not have to happen and continues to invite residents to share their feedback.

You can share your feedback and get more details on the plan at any one of the open houses HCDA is planning. They will be held at the HCDA office at 461 Cooke St. Dates and times are: May 24 (5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.), May 25 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), and May 30 (3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.).

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