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Hawaii Construction Boom: New Developments Coming to Honolulu, North Shore, Central, West and Windward Oahu

New developments are changing the face of Honolulu—find out what’s coming.


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Halekauwila Place

Cheap rents on the park

Built to satisfy the Hawaii Community Development Authority’s requirement for affordable rental housing, this building’s 204 units are for workers whose income is no more than 60 percent of Honolulu’s median annual income. For a single person, that would be $41,000. Units range from studios to three-bedroom apartments. At press time, developer Stanford Carr was putting the finishing touches on the building, which shares its block with Mother Waldron Park.

Halekauwila Street at Keawe Street, Rentals from $956–$1,389, 19 stories, 2014

803 Waimanu

A shrunken giant

Community outcry forced California-based developer Franco Mola to scale back his planned building from 400 feet to a measly 65 feet. Residents of Imperial Plaza—a building just 39 feet away—still complain that their neighbor to be is too close for comfort. Nonetheless, construction is set to begin later this year. Prices for the 153 studios and one- and two-bedroom units range from affordable to market-rate. An automated parking garage (think car elevator) puts a twist on parking.

$200K–$450K, 7 stories, 2016


400 Keawe

Business and housing

A new piece from the “Our Kakaako” development plan came to light recently with the announcement of Castle & Cooke’s plan to create a mix of commercial and residential space at Auahi and Keawe streets. The ground floor will feature 10,000 square feet for businesses. Ninety-five one- to three-bedroom condos will occupy floors two through six. All of it is just a half block from Waterfront Plaza.

$400K–$700K, 6 stories, 2016




The intensifying pace of high-rise construction in Kakaako has set off a backlash against the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency in charge of redeveloping the area. Driven by fears of over-development and the sense among many Kakaako residents that the agency puts the interests of developers ahead of their neighborhood, an anti-HCDA movement has arisen. It has produced picket lines at construction sites, calls to rein in the agency or abolish it altogether, and three grassroots organizations: Kakaako United, Kakaako Cares and Kakaako Do It Right.
A key ally of the movement is House Majority Leader Scott Saiki, who represents Kakaako. Earlier this year, Saiki introduced a package of HCDA-related reforms that would change the appointment process of the agency board, increase the amount of legislative oversight, and codify certain currently administrative building standards (including height limits) into state law. It’s uncertain if any amendments will succeed this session, though.
“Over the past years, HCDA was unresponsive to the Legislature and to the public as to what was happening, and that’s what led to the legislation being introduced this year,” Saiki says.
The City and County of Honolulu has authority over urban planning across most of Oahu. But in 1976, the Legislature created HCDA to oversee the redevelopment of Kakaako, a 600-acre district filled at the time with warehouses, auto shops and other light industry. Since then, the HCDA has also been granted planning authority over Kalaeloa, in West Oahu, and Heeia, on the Windward Side.
The special authority means the agency can circumvent rules and regulations common for other projects. While the idea was to streamline cohesive planned development, critics say the agency has turned into a developer rubber stamp without the safeguards of the normal planning process, resulting in less public involvement.
Under the HCDA’s watch, Kakaako has become a retail and entertainment hub, home of Ward Centers and the state’s largest movie theater complex. In the next phase of Kakaako’s evolution, as many as 30 high-rises could be built there over the next 10 to 15 years.
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Honolulu Magazine May 2020
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