A New Affordable Hawai‘i Kai Rental Project Opens Its Doors
Tenants at Avalon’s 7000 Hawai‘i Kai Drive are moving in.
Photo: Courtesy of 7000 Hawai‘i Kai Drive Facebook
On Friday, June 17, Avalon Development held a blessing for its long-planned, quickly erected rental project in Hawai‘i Kai. The corner parcel at 7000 Hawai‘i Kai Drive sat unused for years, with only a construction barricade up. Then in October 2014, construction of the 269-unit building began. In September 2015, the project made news when 54 affordable rentals were awarded through a lottery system. Less than two years after starting, people have begun to move in to their new homes.
The blessing was attended by Mayor Kirk Caldwell, as well as local politicians Trevor Ozawa, Sam Slom and Gene Ward; George Atta, head of the Department of Planning and Permitting; a few new residents, community organizations and members of the project team.
The project is the first new development in Hawai‘i Kai in more than a decade, and only the second all-rental project on O‘ahu. Residents, local leadership, community members and industry folks all celebrated together. “This project fits smack dab in the middle of our City and County of Honolulu housing strategy,” said Caldwell.
When construction began, neighborhood board members expressed concern that there had been a design bait-and-switch, but at the event representatives of the Hawai‘i Kai Neighborhood Board and Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui sat in the audience and waved and smiled. That’s partly because 5 acres of the property were sold to Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui for preservation for just $650,000, well below market value. Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui also received a $600,000 gift from the developer to further its conservation work, and local schools received a $3,000 gift to support their efforts.
It wasn’t as smooth a process for those who won affordable units in the lottery. Applying required a great deal of time and effort. Once selected, future affordable unit residents were asked to make a nominal deposit to hold a space. As completion of the project neared, updated documents were required from everyone. Twice. And then came notice that rents had increased for a resident of a three-bedroom, two-bath unit, and rent was increased on affordable units from $2,500 to $2,650 per month for a three-bedroom in the months prior to completion of the project.
The only high-rises in an area of low-rise townhomes, the buildings do stand out from the surrounding neighborhood. Inside, they are nicely appointed, with lobbies and entries decorated by Shari Saiki that feel like a downtown luxury condominium. There’s a concierge, high-speed elevators, luxury amenities that include party and movie rooms, a pet walk where you can drop your pet off for a walk when you get home and a pet cleaning area, a business center, fitness center, pool and hot tub. All common areas run on solar energy.
We toured a three-bedroom, two-bath unit that had been furnished as a model. The view from the seventh floor was stunning. The rooms, while not large, were well laid-out to maximize space. The condo was described as a lock-out: In the case of multifamily living or the need to sublease, the master suite doubles as a studio and can be locked out from the remainder of the unit so that only the foyer is shared. All that glass you see from the outside means rooms are bright and maximize views. Market rate two-, three- and four-bedroom units are still available and range from $2,200 to $3,700 per month. For more information, call 369-1153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.