Is McCully About to Get Way More Expensive?

It’s not just Kaka‘ako that’s booming—new developments are popping up in unexpected places across O‘ahu.
Photos: Courtesy of Hau‘oli Lofts


If we say “new development,” odds are high you don’t say “Mō‘ili‘ili.”


But it’s not just Kaka‘ako being developed to meet the demands of O‘ahu’s housing crisis. Depending upon which expert you ask, we need anywhere from 3,500 to 6,500 new homes built each year to keep up with demand and support both our own growing families and newcomers. Kaka‘ako’s big community developers alone won’t cut it. In response, mini-developments are popping up around the island.


If we say “Mō‘ili‘ili,” odds are high you don’t say “sexy.”


And that’s OK for the Hau‘oli Lofts team. The nine-unit project, located at 917 Hau‘oli St. in Mō‘ili‘ili, was featured a year ago, at the time of groundbreaking. And now, as they close in on the fall 2016 completion, only one loft remains available for purchase.


Christian O’Connor, principal at Centre City LLC, the project developer, says he knew they wanted to be part of this community, which is full of family and real life, with kids playing out front and people hanging out with their neighbors and walking to dinner at Zippy’s, Gyotaku and other local favorites in the area. And, from a business perspective, the company wanted the project to be an example for other developers to follow.



Shannon Ball, the listing agent handling sales of the nine units, says that the first phase of six lofts to hit the market were spoken for within a week. Of the second phase, only one remains, and it’s located at the very center of the building, as its piko. Prior to sales at Hau‘oli Lofts, which range from $700,000 to $800,000, residences in the area sold for $600 to $650 per square foot. Hau‘oli Lofts are selling for closer to $800 per square foot, which marks a dramatic change for the neighborhood.


While it won’t change the city’s shortfall of affordable housing, the project’s success shows that there are condo shoppers who prefer a small, cozy building with just a few neighbors. They also appreciate the rooftop PV, that every parking stall is EV-equipped and that the building is pet-friendly. In fact, so far, 100 percent of the buyers are pet owners.



The neighborhood of McCully might seem a bit downmarket for a pricey project like this, but don’t forget that it’s home to joints including Alan Wong’s, Chef Mavro and Pint + Jigger (which turned out to a boon for the project team). Janice Li of Tadpole, the project architect, says, “It’s unlike any project I’ve worked on before; everyone—the developer, the architects, sales team, and construction team—hit Pint + Jigger to unwind together each Friday evening.”


Pricey drink and pricey condos? This could be the beginning of a whole new McCully.