Kaka‘ako Condo Project Looking For First-Time Buyers

Sales of Howard Hughes’ Ke Kilohana to start in early 2016.
Photo: Jaymes Song

Ke Kilohana is Howard Hughes Corp.’s first project in Ward Village, targeting working-class, first-time buyers, and is planned just off Ward Avenue at 988 Halekauwila St., the former site of Dixie Grill restaurant.


Sales are expected to start in the first quarter of 2016 for the latest, in-demand Kaka‘ako condo project, across the street from Sports Authority.  The popularity of pre-sale workshops suggests strong demand for the project.


The proposed 43-story tower will have one-, two- and three-bedroom condos. Of the 424 residences, 375 are designated as “reserve” units priced from the $300,000s to the $500,000s.


Prices and sales dates for the 49 market units have not yet been announced.


Reserve units are priced below market value and carry restrictions on selling and renting. They are only offered to qualified first-time homebuyers who are Hawai‘i residents and fall within certain income requirements.


The reserve housing program was designed by the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority to encourage homeownership and help working-class people who can’t afford market prices yet cannot qualify for government programs.


The reserve program is for buyers who earn less than 140 percent of the area median income, which currently is $85,150 for a single person or $97,300 for a couple.  The limits may change in 2016.


Under HCDA guidelines, developers in Kaka‘ako are required to set aside at least 20 percent of their development for reserved housing.


Developer Howard Hughes is building Ke Kilohana to meet its reserve requirement instead of setting aside reserve units within its ultra-luxury towers, such as Waiea, Anaha and the Gateway Towers.


Several Kaka‘ako projects built by other developers, such as Symphony Honolulu and Keauhou Place, have reserve units included within the buildings.


At the base of Ke Kilohana will be a flagship, 23,000-square-foot Longs Drugs store, which will be the lone commercial tenant for the building.


The building will be pet friendly and have amenities such as a theater, co-workspaces with meeting rooms,  indoor/outdoor lounges and a fitness center with kid playroom and karaoke room. A unique feature of the building will be two “Sky Lānais,” which owners can reserve for gatherings.


There is not expected to be a swimming pool, to keep maintenance fees lower.


If sales are strong and construction begins soon, the building could be completed as soon as in late 2018 or early 2019. 


The project is along the proposed rail line. 


It's part of the 60-acre Ward Village project and there will be a lottery for the reserve units.