Local Connection: HCDA Chairperson John Whalen

Local Connection: HCDA Chairperson John Whalen

Less than two years ago, developer Ward Village promised to build 988 Halekauwila, a for-sale housing project with up to 375 housing units for qualified income buyers.

Now, the developer wants to change that plan and offer middle-income rentals for only a 15-year regulated term, the minimum requirement under HCDA Rules.

HCDA asked the developer to extend that term to 30 years, but the developer has so far refused to compromise.

So the HCDA voted unanimously to reject the developer's request for rentals so that tenants would not be forced out of their homes when the 15 year term is up.

Keeping this as a for-sale project will not only provide better housing security for residents in the long term but also include equity sharing, which provides money to the HCDA for future affordable housing projects, enabling the creation of more critically needed low income rental housing.

To be clear, I do not at all mean to criticize developers for seeking to make a profit. It's their job. But it is the HCDA's job to look out for what's best for the community both now, and in the future.

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