Judge halts construction of Kakaako tower

Judge halts construction of Kakaako tower

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A state judge halted construction on a Kakaako highrise at the Honolulu Advertiser building, just days after the developer said it had sold all of its apartments.

Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto found that the Hawaii Community Development Authority did not follow state historic preservation laws and state burial laws when it approved construction of the second tower of the 801 South Street project. The ruling leaves intact the projects first building.

"I feel like today, the citizens of Kakaako gained some traction against the HCDA and their steamrolling effects on development here," said Jesse Ryan Kawela Allen, spokesman for Kakaako Cares, which opposed the second tower.

Carl Varady is the attorney for residents of the Royal Capitol Plaza project next door which sued the state over the second tower.

Varady estimated about six months of delays before the developers will be able to complete the necessary archeological inventory surveys and mitigation plans before proceeding.

"I think the HCDA just sees development money available and says let's approve everything and let's get out of the developers way so they can be happy," Varady said.

Varady said the state was "derelict" in not obtaining the proper approvals before allowing construction to go on. He expects the ruling will likely force developers of other projects in Kakaako to seek the proper studies.

"This is an issue that's not going away. If you look at all the cranes going up in Kakaako and if you look at all of the projects in the pipeline, this is an issue that's not going away," he said.

We tried to contact HCDA's director Anthony Ching but he was in Canada and could not be reached.

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