Big Changes are Happening at The Oahuan. Here’s What That Means for Buyers

The classic Makiki two-story walk-up is converting to both condominium and fee simple.


The Oahuan, a classic Makiki two-story walk-up, is making news with big changes lately. The building has long been a co-op, not a condominium, meaning that, when you buy your unit, what you’re actually buying is a share in the Oahuan corporation. While the day-to-day of ownership of a co-op is similar to that of a condominium, it can also be a bit more complicated when making decisions that have an impact on the entire building.


The Oahuan is also a leasehold property. That mostly unique-to-Hawai‘i feature is generally a deterrent to buyers, who won’t own a portion of the rights to the land beneath the building and will have to pay rent on that land. Lease rents increase over time, often with little rhyme or reason, simply per the terms of the lease agreement. And leasehold can be difficult or impossible to finance—there must be adequate time left on the lease term to get a conventional mortgage.

  Oahuan street view


So what makes The Oahuan an interesting buy right now? It’s converting to both condominium and fee simple. That’s a lot of change, but potentially a great opportunity. There are 12 units becoming available, ranging in price from $25,000 to $70,000, about the price of a Kaka‘ako parking stall. To buy the fee, which is called the Propriety Permanent Lease, since it’s still technically a co-op, costs about $115,000.


Walk-up buildings have another hidden bonus: No elevators usually mean lower maintenance fees and fewer assessments in the long run. The building is actually four buildings built surrounding and overlooking a central pool with a beautiful monkeypod tree.


1700 Makiki St.