Camping out for a new condo in Kakaako

Jeanne Murata
Jeanne Murata
Shane Fujio
Shane Fujio
Danny Le
Danny Le

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dozens of hopeful homebuyers have been waiting in line since Sunday to get first crack at new condos going up along Kapiolani boulevard.

The 124 units for sale fall under a provision called 'gap group' or 'reserved' housing, and some of the people who qualify are willing to wait in line an entire week.

34 year old single mom Loahn Nguyen arrived late Sunday afternoon and doesn't mind burning vacation days to camp out. "It's already worth it. I think the properties being offered to us, at a price we can afford, I could not find anything comparable out there - and I'm a realtor."

Nguyen and dozens others have laid out tents, sleeping bags, cots, and recliners - just so they can get first dibs at the Pacifica Honolulu development in Kakaako.

Under state law, the condo developer is required to offer gap group housing to certain homebuyers. Pacifica Honolulu's director of project sales says, "It's not affordable and it's not market. The state subsidizes some of the units, so there's a qualification that they must meet."

As a general guideline, potential gap group buyers must earn a minimum of 84 thousand dollars a year. A single person can't make more than 102 thousand dollars annually, and two or more buyers' incomes can't exceed 114 thousand dollars. Other restrictions apply, as well.

Until recently, the Kapiolani boulevard development was stalled because of the economy. The building sat unfinished for 16 months until a new developer took over. Now, they expect residents to move in sometime around September 2011.

The sales office isn't even accepting applications until this Saturday, but the campers don't want to chance it. Shane Fujio took some time off from work to wait in line while his girlfriend is working. Later in the week, they'll switch, and she'll take days off while he works. They're also getting help from others. "We do shifts with our friends or our family, so we can go home and take showers."

The developer has provided security, port-a-potties, a big screen TV, and three meals a day for the campers. The sales office tells other potential buyers not to be discouraged by the line of campers. There's still time to turn in applications. Condos run between 350 thousand and 466 thousand dollars.

Folks pass the time reading, watching TV, and bonding. "Oh, these are my future neighbors," says prospective buyer Danny Le. "They're all really good people, and I made new friends out here. Having a good time, really."

They'll have an even better time knowing "home sweet home" could be just a few days' wait away.

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