Here's how much it would cost to rent a 'micro-unit' in Kakaako

Updated: Aug. 16, 2017 at 7:12 PM HST
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Proposed location on Cooke Street. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Proposed location on Cooke Street. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

KAKAAKO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Smaller units, more housing, less space. That's the idea behind a new micro-unit apartment building proposed for Kakaako.

The Nohona Hale development aims to bring affordable housing to the area. It is slated to be built on a 10,409-square-foot lot at 630 Cooke Street.

The proposal includes 111 studios with about 300-square-foot living space and 70-square-foot lanais. The 14 residential floors would be built above two podium levels containing most of the common areas.

It will sit on land owned by the Hawaii Community Development Authority. 

"The micro-units is one way for us to bring down the price of a unit because you need less land and you're putting 100 units on only 10,000 square feet of land," said HCDA spokesman Garett Kamemoto.

But do smaller units equate to cheaper rental rates?

According to Marian Gushiken, EAH Housing's director of real estate development for Hawaii, the projected monthly rent for 11 of the apartments would be in the $500 range. For the 99 others units, rent would be about $1,000 a month.

"Market rents were running close to $1,300 and we know some other projects that are coming online are proposing rents in the $1,800 to $2,000 range," said Gushiken.

The site will also feature tenant gardens and a gym for residents.

The development is near the future rail line. No parking stalls are planned for residents, but there would be spaces for bicycles and mopeds.

"We're trying to find an urban model with maybe limited parking and seeing if it works in a transit-oriented development environment," said Craig Hirai, executive director of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

New York-based developer Bronx Pro Group is leading the development team that includes EAH Housing for the $48 million project.

A recent draft environmental assessment found the project would have no significant environmental impact.

In 2015, the HCDA chose the development team to build the project. The timetable for construction has been pushed back due to challenges assembling financing and processing the development application, according to Gushiken.

Construction is anticipated to start in spring 2018. The work is expected to last 18 months.

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