Pacific Business News has reported on several updates regarding Howard Hughes Corporation's Aalii project that will be revisited at the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) general meeting on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, namely the developer's opposition to three conditions set by the HCDA. Read more below:
The Howard Hughes Corp. is challenging the state agency regulating development in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako regarding conditions the agency set for the approval of its newest mixed-use high-rise residential project within its 60-acre Ward Village master-planned community, public documents show.
Earlier this month, the Hawaii Community Development Authority officially approved the Texas developer’s plan to develop a 42-story, 751-unit Aalii project in Kakaako. With that approval, came several conditions that the HCDA said the developer must meet, including the development of the central plaza and reserved housing requirements.
Earlier this month, the Hawaii Community Development Authority officially approved the Texas developer’s plan to develop a 42-story, 751-unit Aalii project in Kakaako. With that approval, came several conditions that the HCDA said the developer must meet, including the development of the central plaza and reserved housing requirements
Last week, attorneys with Honolulu’s Watanabe Ing LLP, which represents Howard Hughes, filed paperwork with the HCDA regarding the developer’s exceptions to three of the conditions.
One condition noted that before regulators let people move into the project — or two years from the approval of the development permit, whichever happens first — the developer must complete the construction of the 150,000-square-feet of central plaza nearby, which includes public plazas and pedestrian walkways.
Howard Hughes said that it is impossible to accomplish this condition because the design, planning and permitting process for the central plaza will take about two years to complete, only after which construction may begin; a realistic timeframe would be about four years to complete construction of the plaza. The developer also said that this condition violates the development agreement, which allows it flexibility in project phasing.
Howard Hughes also takes issue with two more conditions set by the HCDA regarding reserved housing requirements. In one condition, the HCDA said prior to the approval of the foundation permit by its staff, the developer has to provide proof that it will provide at least 150 reserved housing units as part of the project.
The other condition noted that the developer’s request to increase the project’s platform height to 75 feet was approved provided that there are 50 more reserved housing units provided in the project, totaling 150 units of this type. Howard Hughes said these conditions are “unlawful and invalid” because preventing it from using existing credits to fulfill its reserved housing requirements is a breach of the development agreement.
The HCDA plans to take up this issue at its regular meeting on Wednesday where it is expected to decide whether to have a hearing or not regarding this issue.
The HCDA voted 5-4 on Jan. 5 to approve the Aalii project, which will be located on the route of the Honolulu rail transit project along Halekauwila Street.
Howard Hughes also received the HCDA’s approval for a variance to raise the tower’s podium height from 45 feet to 75 feet, which will add more parking and accommodate retail spaces below.
Aalii will join Howard Hughes' Aeo project next door, which includes the state’s flagship Whole Foods Market, and the Waiea, Anaha, Ke Kilohana and Gateway Towers that would replace the Ward Warehouse retail complex.