Hawaii Kai luxury condo development now going ahead as family rentals

Hawaii Kai luxury condo development now going ahead as family rentals

HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Eight years ago, a luxury condominium development called Hale Alii was planned for Hawaii Kai. It was shelved, and then was downscaled slightly and renamed Hale Ka Lae. It, too, stalled. Now, the development has been renamed again for its location -- 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive -- and construction is slated to begin in less than a month.

A green fence surrounds the 3.8 acre lot at the corner of Hawaii Kai Drive and Keahole Street. Faded graphics advertise the earlier failed attempts to build the luxury condo units.

"Well, the luxury condominiums were designed for very high-end in mind," said Christine Camp, president of Avalon Development. "And while that was nicely planned, it just wasn't right for the market."

Camp's company is the latest developer attempting to build on the property. This time, Avalon Development is planning to build 269 rental units in two ten-story buildings. Rents will average around $2,500 a month for the two and three-bedroom units.

Fifty-four units will be priced for those who earn less than 80 percent of the area median income.

Some in the area remain concerned that the development will increase congestion in an already busy neighborhood.

"It's a prominent corner," said longtime East Oahu Realtor Julianna Garris of Choi International. "So when you start saying you're going to build a ten-story high-rise and add in 250 plus units, 500 parking stalls, there's going to be a lot of congestion that's going to go into that one particular space."

Garris also questions whether there's a need for rental units in Hawaii Kai.

"There is rental housing already," she said. "Whether there's a need for another 250 units, I can't even say if they've provided the fight information for us to evaluate."

Neighbors are also concerned about the height of the buildings.

"Our actual height is lower than what was previously designed and approved," said Camp. "So we're keeping with the 90 feet height, but we dropped the elevation of our property to the impact is not as significant."

Camp also said there is a need for market rental units for families in Hawaii, and her company is ready to fill that need.

"We're ready to start. We raised $108 million that's necessary to finish the next increment of the project, which is just to start the vertical construction," she said.

Avalon will present its plans to the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board Sept. 30, but already has the necessary approvals and permits to go ahead.

Avalon plans to begin construction as soon as Oct. 15. Completion is scheduled for mid-2016.

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