HONOLULU (KHON2) — Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Governor Josh Green, M.D. attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a 3-story, 25-unit affordable rental housing building on Ernest Street in Makiki.

The project was completed in only nine months and was made possible by Bill 7.

Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You

The ribbon-cutting ceremony too place at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. Guests from local and state government included Governor Josh Green, M.D., Mayor Rick Blangardi, Managing Director Mike Formby and Deputy Managing Director Krishna Jayaram.

This bill provides key incentives to developers to build new affordable rental apartments across Oʻahu.

Developers Paul Lam, Greg Thielen and Evan Amakata announced the completion of Honolulu’s second affordable housing project. It is a 3-story walk-up that contains 25-units. That’s 22 studios and three 1-bedroom apartments) which are located in Makiki at 1427 Ernest Street.

According to their announcement, construction commenced Jan. 4 with their completion coming on Sept. 30.

“Even with the 3-week rainout in April, we were able to complete the job in 9 months using a 120-ton crane to stack concrete panels produced on the West Side.” According to Lam, principal owner/developer, “The interest in leasing has been good. We have applications for about ¾ of the units. Monthly studio rent starts around $1,500, including all utilities [gas, water, trash, electricity]. To qualify, a single-person household requires an annual income of less than $73,360 [$83,840 for family of two].”

Bill 7 was signed into law in 2019. It was meant to “green light” more private sector investment in the development of affordable rental apartments across Oahu.

This was achieved by relaxing development standards so that cheaper materials and construction could be utilized by the businesses overseeing the projects.

This included economic and regulatory incentives such as property tax exemption for 10 years and no fees for application process in order for projects to qualify.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

“Bill 7 allows higher density redevelopment of property zoned Apartment, AMX or BMX. In exchange for allowing more apartments to be built on a property,” explained a spokesperson for the developers. “The apartment rents must be affordable to tenants who earn up to 100% of the Area Median Income.”