Affordable housing complex to bring hundreds of new units to Ala Moana area

Affordable housing complex to bring hundreds of new units to Ala Moana area
A rendering of Kapiolani Residence. (Image: Samkoo Pacific)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Plans are moving forward to build an affordable housing complex next to Ala Moana Center.

At the former car lot on Kapiolani Boulevard near Keeaumoku Street, Korean developer Samkoo Pacific plans to build a condo complex that would add hundreds of affordable units to the area.

In April, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell told the City Council that he wanted to purchase the land for $64 million, and use it to build a bus transit center, which would help connect rail passengers to Ala Moana Center. Caldwell also hoped to build some affordable housing units above the transit center.

But his proposal was met with opposition from the council, which feared Samkoo's development would be jeopardized.

"There is a waiting list of people who want to get into this new building and now it's on the verge of being lost," city Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said in April.

Since then, the city has advanced construction plans for Samkoo's Kapiolani Residence.

And on Wednesday, the city's zoning committee approved the developer's request to increase the building's height limit from 250 feet to 400 feet.

According to the building's website, it will have 485 units — 292 of which will be affordable.

That's 60 percent of the building classified as affordable, which is much higher than the normal 15 or 20 percent of affordable units in highrise buildings.

Prices for units in the building are expected to start at around $272,000.

Kapiolani Residence has been in the works for about 10 years.

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