HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A high-rise developer who has accused the City Council of being biased against Chinese people and threatened a boycott is now making big pledges in order to address their concerns.
Johnson Fang, whose Hawaii City Plaza project has stalled in the City Council, is offering to build and donate 50 apartments for homeless residents in Kapolei or elsewhere. That's on top of the affordable requirements he already faces.
"We can use our associated companies to build ... free units to the homeless people," Fang said, through an interpreter.
Fang also offered to sign a contract with local construction unions, but said he feels pressured by the council to use union labor.
"Right now we feel the investment environment is so bad here, it's even worse than China," he said.
Permits for the 26-story project stalled after council members, led by Ikaika Anderson, expressed concerns that 60 percent of the units have already been marketed to Chinese investors and won't be available for local residents.
Fang said that's a misunderstanding. He said the investors are only funding the construction and don't get to keep the condos.
"So Councilmember Ikaika Anderson misunderstood that the 60 percent of the units has been sold to Chinese people, but that's not right," he said.
Fang said he spoke with Hawaii News Now because council members won't meet with him. They told us they fear lawsuits, which he doesn't rule out.
"We've already done consultations with the lawyers and other people. We know what they are kind of doing is illegal right now. But we don't want to (file) a lawsuit at this moment," Fang said.