A spacious find in downtown Honolulu

I remember back in the day, when Kukui Plaza was first built. Frank Fasi was mayor, and the revitalization of Chinatown was just starting. This mixed-use condo was a new concept, with two towers, a 2.6-acre park for its residents, and about 30 stores, restaurants and offices on the first floor.

That was in the 1970s; the concept, and the building itself, is no longer new, but it's old enough that many residents have renovated their units to provide a modern living environment. This makes sense, since Chinatown is now a hip, vibrant community and presumably more urban professionals are moving into the building to be within walking distance of work or the First Friday events.

I got to see a rare three-bedroom, two-bath unit in the Diamond Head tower yesterday, and was impressed. Once you walk in, you can't tell that it's in an older building, since it went through a complete renovation in 2008 and the walls were recently painted.

There is only one, three-bedroom unit per floor; the rest are one- and two-bedrooms. (Click here for details.) This one is 1,201 square feet with a 172-square-foot lanai. The kitchen opens up to the living room, which is a good size for entertaining.

The master bedroom is like a separate suite-you can close it off from the rest of the unit and enjoy privacy with its large bathroom and its own access to the lanai. (It was hard to shoot photos in this unit because of the layout, which separated the rooms into their own little pockets.)

Due to the rarity of availability—not just of a three-bedroom unit, but of Kukui Plaza units in general—this listing has been drawing a lot of interest from buyers. There are two other units available, both with just two bedrooms, but they aren't priced much less than this one, so this is definitely a better value.

Money talk: $499,000 fee simple
Contact: Charlie Zhao, East Oahu Realty, 808-457-1934, charliez@eastoahu.com