Affordable Condos in Honolulu

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The Pensacola Chelsea offers affordable one-bedroom/one-bath condos in the heart of Honolulu.

Honolulu developer Peter Savio specializes in condo conversions and has, more recently, focused his efforts on converting hotels into University of Hawaii student housing (see my article about that here). He just brought to market two condo projects that are ideally suited for those shopping for budget-friendly, in-town digs: The Pensacola Chelsea and Ala Moana Tower, a condo conversion that will be the focus of tomorrow’s column, so stay tuned.

The Pensacola Chelsea is a five-story building with 46 one-bedroom/one-bath condos located near the intersection of Kinau and Pensacola Streets (not quite Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, is it?). The upside: It’s a quick drive to downtown, it’s on the bus line, has easy freeway access and it’s situated in a pedestrian-friendly area with shops, restaurants, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Blaisdell Arena and other conveniences, including the new 61,000-sq.-ft. Safeway store on Beretania St. that’s expected to open in Nov. 2011. The downside: Noise and congestion. Pensacola and Kinau are both busy streets, so expect to sit in and hear the traffic.

The smallest one-bedroom, one-bath units have 570 square feet of livable area, while the largest top-floor units with lofts have 661 square feet. Each apartment has its own balcony (a handful have two), except for the first-floor units, which have patios, and the top-floor condos, which come with roof decks. Design features include cabinets with shaker details, granite countertops, storage (for certain units only), ceramic tile flooring and wall-to-wall carpeting. All standard appliances are included: refrigerator, range/oven, dishwasher, microwave/hood, disposal, washer/dryer and split AC system. Each condo comes with one assigned covered parking space. The building isn’t exactly big on amenities, touting only a “beautifully landscaped barbecue area,” but I imagine the lack of services keeps prices down.

According to Savio, there are currently 320 buyers signed up for the 46 units. A reservation agreement can be found here.

Show me the money: Prices are listed between $295,000 and $312,500. The estimated monthly maintenance fee is $340, which covers water, sewer, common area maintenance and insurance. Additionally, at closing each buyer must contribute to the Association of Apartment Owners’ start-up fund, a fee of either $681 or $790.