HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu City Council signed off on the construction of a residential high-rise in Moiliili. The developers said more than half of the units will be affordable housing units, but not everyone in the community is on board yet.
From two-story walk-up apartments to a 43-story high-rise, those are the plans from developers Kobayashi Group. This week, they got approval from the City Council with the passing of a resolution that exempts the project from several permits.
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Councilmember Calvin Say represents Moiliili and said he voted in favor of the resolution because of the widespread need for more housing that working families could afford.
Say said, “Let’s address the biggest shortage that we have here in the state of Hawaii, the housing shortage for the future generations.”
The Kobayashi Group plans to build 1,005 units, with 60 percent of those falling under affordable housing. Those units are marketed in the $371,800 and $813,000 price range; the rest would be sold at market price.
Requirements for applicants would include being a Hawaii resident and a 10-year buyback period before the units could be sold on the open market.
Say said, “I would like to see our local kids stay here, work here and live here and raise their families. That’s my whole idea as far as the support of this particular project.”
But, there is some opposition to the project including from the Moiliili neighborhood board. Neighborhood board member Matt Prellberg said he is afraid the development would gentrify the neighborhood.
Prellberg said, “They’re turning us into Kakaako. We’re not Kakaako.”
He is also skeptical about just how affordable the units would be. He wants to hear more details about possible HOA and other maintenance fees, and he is also concerned about traffic impacts.
Prellberg said, “This is right off Kapiolani Boulevard and an already incredibly busy intersection, an incredibly busy area where you can’t even really be making left turns into the building.”
Residents said they were given about a year’s notice, letting them know they would have to move out of their apartments by September. The developers offered them two months rent-free as they plan their next move.
Resident Emerald Reyes said she was not expecting the notice and she opposes the development. She said, “We weren’t necessarily on a timeline, but it kind of was forced upon us now.”
The Kobayashi Group’s Managing Partner Alana Kobayashi Pakkala, in a statement, told KHON 2 News, “We are grateful for the leadership and support we’ve received for Kuilei Place from the City Council, HHFDC, and other stakeholders.”
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Pakkala added that, “Kuilei Place will create 1,005 quality, thoughtfully designed homes that meet the needs of our local families and focus on sustainability. Kobayashi Group is committed to continuing to work with the community to bring Kuilei Place to life.”
Construction of Kuilei Place is expected to begin by the end of 2023.