Affordable housing projects unveiled in Kakaako, Pagoda

Two affordable housing projects are moving forward on Oahu.

One is located in the heart of Kakaako. Halekauwila Place will provide rental housing for low- to moderate-income families. A grand opening is set for April 8.

The 19-story building consists of 204 rental units, ranging in size from studios to 3-bedroom lofts that overlook Mother Waldron Park. Qualifying renters will be limited to those making no more than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), which is about $40,260 for a single person, or $57,480 for a family of four.

Rented rates at Halekauwila Place are $956 for a studio, $1,016 for a 1- bedroom unit, $1,210 for a 2- bedroom unit, and $1,389 for a 3-bedroom unit. Each unit is also assigned one parking stall.

The unveiling comes on the heels of some criticism of the Hawaii Community Development Authority for giving the go ahead for high-end housing in Kakaako. Many more high rise buildings are in the works, but developer Stanford Carr says he isn’t concerned.

“There would be a saturation in different price points, but this is a rental project,” he said.

KHON2 wanted to know if there could be a critical mass when infrastructure work, transit and more building construction happens at the same time in the same place.

“We’re an island, so we can’t keep building more freeways,” Carr said. “So we have to look at other multi-modal transportation uses. Kakaako is a perfect place for walking, biking, the bus. The transit would be another option, rather than us jumping in our cars.”

HCDA has been under fire lately for giving the green light to so many high-rise projects in Kakaako.

“You know, these projects have been long in the works,” said Anthony Ching, HCDA executive director. “I would characterize that HCDA’s role has been and will continue to be a part of the solution.”

Ching said there will be a mix of low- to moderate-income housing available in Kakaako, as well as affordable units for purchase in a renovated property called Rycroft Terrace, a 162-unit for-sale reserved housing project that once belonged to the Pagoda Hotel.

Under developer, Peter Savio, and landowner, Kamehameha Schools, Rycroft Terrace offers fee-simple residential condominiums priced between $123,480 and $274,990. First preference will be given to buyers making 30 percent or less of the area median income. Unit sales will then continue to qualified income buyers making no more than 140 percent AMI, or $115,650 for a family of four.

Though with every silver lining comes a dark cloud.

“I’m losing almost 40 percent of my employees because we have to downsize from a 360-room property to 200 rooms,” said Albert Roque, Pagoda Hotel manager.

Roque said the Pagoda has 93- to 94-percent capacity each year, mostly thanks to kamaaina visiting from neighbor islands.

Rycroft Terrace is anticipated to open at the end of April 2014.

Rycroft Terrace
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