Plans for residential community at old CompUSA site unveiled

Plans for residential community at old CompUSA site unveiled

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Alexander & Baldwin Inc. says it plans to invest more than $200 million to develop its latest high rise at the former Comp USA site in Kakaako.

But other luxury projects recently built in Kakaako, A&B is targeting a long, under served market: middle-class buyers.

"This is not so much for an offshore or Asia buyer," said Chris Benjamin, president of Alexander & Baldwin Inc.

"The homes are designed to a wide range of local buyers, primarily local buyers."

Prices for the project, dubbed the Collection, will start in the high $300,000 range for one-bedroom units and will go up to the $700,000 range for three-bedroom apartments. Two bedroom condos will sell in the mid-$500,000 range.

Real estate expert Mike Hamasu said low interest rates and Hawaii's booming resale market is making mid-price homes attractive for developers, especially in Kakaako.

"That's a market that been missing in the last boom," said Hamasu, director of research and consulting at Colliers Monroe Friedlander Inc.

"When you price it at the mid level you've got the average resident's market, which has a lot of pent up demand."

A&B said it plans to hire as many as 300 construction employees once work gets underway a year from now.

The property at 600 Ala Moana was once the home the Comp USA store and now houses a used car lot. A&B said it has secured an option on the property from landowner Kamehameha Schools.

The project is one of 15 that will be built in the 29-acre Kakaako sector over the next decade. Those projects will add over 3,000 new homes and will create thousands of construction jobs into the next decade.

"From Ala Moana Center to the park all the way through Kakaako ... this area is going to blossom," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

"Believe me there is going to be a transformation in the urban landscape."

Abercrombie's vision for Kakaako includes more than 300,000 square feet of new retail space, more pedestrian friendly streets for shopping and dining and plenty of affordable housing and mid-priced residences to go along the high-end product that's already been built.

Nearby, the state has selected Forest City Hawaii to build the 690 Pohukaina affordable rental project, which will be the tallest building in the state.

Local developer Marshall Hung is building the Tower at 801 South Street at the former headquarters of the Honolulu Advertiser, which will target working class buyers in Honolulu.

"People will want to come here. Even if they're not living here, they will want to come here," he said.

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