Pacific Business News has reported on the results of the February 1, 2017 Hawaii Community Development Authority's (HCDA) regular meeting, which discussed the request from the Howard Hughes Corporation to remove conditions the HCDA had set for the approval of the developer's latest residential project. The HCDA has rejected this request. Read more below:
Hawaii regulators have rejected a request by The Howard Hughes Corp. to do away with conditions set for the approval of the newest mixed-use high-rise residential project within the developer's 60-acre Ward Village master-planned community in Honolulu, a spokesman for the state agency confirmed to Pacific Business News.
On Wednesday at its regular meeting, the Hawaii Community Development Authority board voted to not reconsider three conditions it set for the approval of the 42-story, 751-unit Aalii project in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako.
Todd Apo, vice president of community development for The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), told PBN in an email Wednesday that despite Wednesday’s decision, the developer remains committed to the Aalii project and it is eager to bring more homes to Ward Village for local residents.
Last month, the HCDA officially approved the Texas-based developer’s plan to develop the Aalii project. But along 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.
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.
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.