Rents at new affordable project in Makiki will start at $1,200

The latest affordable rental project is an attractive location for people who work Downtown.
Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 6:12 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The latest affordable rental project is an attractive location for people who work Downtown.

And for those with the incomes that qualify, the starting rents for the three-story, 26-unit project in Makiki are even more attractive.

“I would say somewhere around $1,200 a month,” developer Paul Lam said, during Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

The development will be located at the corner of Ernest and Green streets.

Lam said he and his partners — Greg Thielen and Evan Amakata — have several other similar projects planned in urban Honolulu.

“We have 200 more units planned for the next two years. And they’re all in this metro area, Pensacola, Kinau and Alapai streets and here on Ernest Street,” he said.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony, added: “This right now is really tied to affordable housing for those people working very hard to make ends meet, to be able to finally have that (affordable housing) and call it their home,” he said.

Ernest Street apartments are part of an incentive program under Bill 7, which will add nearly 1,000 affordable units in town.

Dozens of developers are taking advantage of the easier density and parking requirements for small lots that are allowed under the program.

Renters, meanwhile, have to earn between 80 to 100% of the area’s median income or less in order to qualify.

But not all of these Bill 7 projects have been popular in their neighborhoods.

For example, the Pense Metro apartments on Pensacola Street ran into several months of delays during the pandemic, prompting some neighbors to complain about the unfinished work.

Developer Don Huang said construction is back on.

Huang said the delay was due to the pandemic-era building supply shortages and labor shortages. He added that a group of homeless people also raided property, taking advantage of the water supply.

The 29-unit project, which will have one-bedroom and studio units starting at $1,400 a month, will be completed by the middle of next year, Huang said.

“It’s unfortunate, they’ve run into these issues and delays. So we’re gonna be looking at what’s causing these delays and if there’s anything that’s an issue on the city side,” added City Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam.