Plans to build 3 high-rises in Kakaako move forward

Courtesy: The Howard Hughes Corporation.

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More high-rises in the Kakaako neighborhood were approved Wednesday.

The Ward area will change over the next few years.

The Howard Hughes Corporation has received the go-ahead for a total of three residential-commercial towers in the Ward district.

Some see this as the answer to a housing shortage problem.

“Do feel that because of our housing issues that we have here, that smart vertical density to me makes a lot more sense than some of the more rural sprawl,” architect Nathan Smith said.

Smith was born and raised on Oahu and understands concerns about development.

“Any time there’s change and new construction, it’s important to be involved and to take care and be careful about the type of development. Obviously, the infrastructure is very important,” Smith said.

“I’m not sure about the infrastructure. Hawaii’s infrastructure is pretty thin already,” Kakaako visitor John Shinkawa said. “Traffic is probably the most, concerning the amount of people in the area. Parking of course. But as far as it can handle the amount of buildings and people, that remains to be seen, I think.”

Construction workers at the meeting are eager for the project to start.

“This is a plus for all the laborers that’s been on the bench and waiting because there’s a lot of guys who are hungry for work,” construction worker Richard Diaz said.

The project will combine commercial and residential — affordable to luxury. The projects will include 919 residential units, which vary from one to three bedrooms.

From most reports, islanders are hungry for housing.

“I do think we have a housing shortage. I think it’s easier to keep people near town. I think the vertical density makes sense if done right,” Smith said.

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