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HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A stalled luxury condo development in Hawaii Kai will soon start up again with some changes, but part of the project is prompting community complaints.
Development plans for Hale Ka Lae at the corner of Hawaii Kai Drive and Kealahou Street have suffered several setbacks. The project shut down in November 2011. The South Korean investor blamed the global economic crisis, but now Hale Ka Lae plans to re-launch in a couple of months.
"We changed our average unit size which in turn changed the price points on the condos that are very much different than what they were before," said Michael Greco, CEO of GK Group.
The roughly 250 condos will be smaller than before, with fewer resort-type amenities. Prices will start at $500,000 instead of $700,000. Hale Ka Lae plans to fulfill its affordable housing requirement by constructing 80 rental units for seniors. The $18 million project will be built on two acres at Lunalilo Home, a facility for the elderly.
"The ground lease rents that we get will help to subsidize and assist us in actually growing our services and expanding and looking at other alternatives to serve our community and our kupuna," explained J. Kuhio Asam, executive director of Lunalilo Home.
Representatives for Lunalilo Home and Hale Ka Lae said they've been listening to community feedback. There is only one way in and out of the neighborhood next to Kaiser High School. Current plans call for 20 parking stalls, one for every four residents. A few visitor stalls will also be set aside. Concerned neighbors signed a petition opposing the senior housing proposal.
"They say 62 years and older, a lot of people don't drive, but many people drive nowadays," said Hawaii Kai resident Amy Gibo.
"The neighboring community is concerned about property values, and traffic, additional noise and activity in their relatively quiet community, and all the negatives seem to have been shifted to that small neighborhood," said Hawaii Kai neighborhood board chair Greg Knudsen.
About 100 people showed up for a community meeting about the development proposal on Wednesday night.
A third part of the project involving five acres next to the Hale Ka Lae condo site is almost complete. The property, which contains cultural and historical sites, is being sold to a non-profit for protection.