Long-planned Kakaako affordable rental project goes after final piece of funding

The developer of a long-planned $39 million affordable rental housing project for artists, planned for the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako, is looking to get its final piece of funding from the city’s affordable housing fund, a project consultant told PBN this week.

But before that happens, the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which approved the 84-unit Ola Ka Ilima Artspace and Lofts project on Waimanu Street, needs to give the green light to make the project affordable in perpetuity, instead of for 65 years, the current lease for the development.


The project is planned for 1025 Waimanu St., between a Lexus auto service center and the Kakaako Business Center.

If the HCDA, which regulates development in Kakako, approves changing the project’s affordability requirements, then the Minnesota developer can respond to the city’s request for proposals for $4.4 million in funding for affordable projects in the area.
“The fund requires the project needing to be affordable in perpetuity,” Abbey Seth Mayer, president of Honolulu-based Mayer & Associates Consulting Inc., and project consultant, told PBN. “If everything falls into place, [the developer of the project] would meet the restriction of the affordable housing fund and be awarded the RFP, which would represent the last piece of funding. We would be able to move forward and start construction.”
The city’s RFP is expected to come out soon.
If this plan doesn’t work, then Artspace, the developer, would have to find funding from other sources, including public, private, donors or likely a combination of sources.

Artspace has already come up with a majority of the funding, and hopes to start construction on the project in the first or second quarter of 2016 and be completed in about 18 months.
The project, which will occupy a 30,000-square-foot lot, consists of a residential condominium comprising 84 one-, two-and three-bedroom units in two eight-story buildings around a green courtyard.
The Pai Arts & Culture Center will lease 4,000-square-feet of ground floor commercial space from the project with the remaining 2,000-square-feet of commercial space on Waimanu Street to be leased to arts-related organizations and businesses that serve the community.



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