Long lines for new Kakaako condominium development

Long lines for new Kakaako condominium development

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There was a lottery scheduled. But that didn't stop 1,500 prospective buyers from standing in line for up to two hours Saturday for a chance to buy into a new Kakaako condominium development.

People began lining up well before 9 a.m. to get more information about 801 South Street, a proposed 46-story condominium tower to be built by the old Honolulu Advertiser Building.

Jason Nishikawa, a project broker for Marcus & Associates, drove by the sales office on Queen and Keawe Streets Friday night and found people had already started forming a line. "I just basically told them, hey, there's no reason to stand in line tonight. Go home, get a good night's sleep, come back tomorrow," he said.

Most of the development's 635 units are designated as "workforce housing," which means that they're priced for households earning 140 percent of the median income for the area. That translates to a salary of $84,500 for a single homeowner, or $120,000 for a family of four.

Ralph and Jiezyl Garcia, a young married couple in their mid-20s, were among those standing in line. "We've been trying to find a house where we can invest stead of paying rent, so that's why we decided to check out this place and we heard that it's really affordable for us," said Jiezyl Garcia.

"We're renting right now, but we want to get settled into the community and looking to start a career, so we definitely want to look at this area," said Ralph Garcia.

"Honolulu is easy access," said another woman standing in line who gave her name as "Ro." "You don't have to worry about taking transit or going into traffic."

Saturday's scene is reminiscent of one last December, when high-end buyers snapped up luxury condominium units for One Ala Moana, which will be built next to Nordstrom at Ala Moana Center. So developers of 801 South Street were not surprised at Saturday's turnout.

"There's such a critical need for housing in this price bracket, between $250,000 and $550,000. That's evident by the people who are willing to still wait, even though it is a lottery," said Nishikawa.

Prospective owners still have until next week Friday to return their eligibility packets, with the lottery scheduled March 23.

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