Sunday, April 11, 2010

Update on Hale Alii Condo Development in Hawaii Kai

The Honolulu Advertiser reported this week on the progress of Hale Alii in Hawaii Kai, a luxury condo development - planned for the last 5 years - that will be mixed, by law, with affordable housing. The developers show units in escrow in the MLS, and have said 50% of the units in Phase I are sold out. But problems still need to be solved before the complex can move forward.

On April 5, the paper published, "A development firm planning a condominium in Hawai'i Kai with roughly 300 units has apologized to the community and is asking for a chance to better address concerns over the long-delayed project called Hale Ali'i. At a presentation for the Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board last week, project representatives pledged to end what in the past were sometimes combative actions that included threatening opponents with lawsuits, in hopes of advancing the project that includes both luxury and affordable units.

"Despite earning previous neighborhood board support, the project has been beset by issues including satisfying a county affordable housing requirement and protecting archaeological features on the property near the Oahu Club on Hawai'i Kai Drive. Design plans are being reassessed, and top management of Hale Ali'i Development LLC has been reorganized, according to Mike Greco, who was named Hale Ali'i's chief operating officer March 1."

Greco said changes are being made at the direction of Hanwha Corp., a South Korea-based company that is the majority investor in the project. The Advertiser stated, "Hale Ali'i's most recent design included an 11-story first phase with 133 luxury units ranging from about 1,500 square feet to 4,400 square feet with shared amenities including a wine tasting room, movie theater and resort-style spa. Unit prices ranged from about $1.3 million to $3.7 million when an initial batch of 68 units were placed on the market last year. The developer had anticipated starting construction last month, but has not.

"A second building expected to satisfy a county requirement to provide affordable units was to be developed adjacent to the luxury building and a private landscaped park with features including lagoon-style waterways, floating cabanas and a sand-edged pool with ozone-purified water." Greco told the neighborhood board that all the plans are now being reviewed and are subject to change.

Hale Ali'i Development recently hired Dawn Chang of local consulting firm Ku'iwalu as a cultural consultant, and public relations firm Communications Pacific to help with community outreach. Some residents have suggested the project site was once home to a heiau, or place of worship. Chang encouraged community members to share any information that would help confirm the location of Hawea Heiau or ensure better stewardship of the property.

If you have an opinion on this development, contact your local Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board member. Hale Alii is planned on the last large parcel of undeveloped land zoned for homes in Hawaii Kai.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

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