Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports on developer SamKoo's next project, The Central, below. SamKoo is currently finishing its Kapiolani Residence project in urban Honolulu, blocks away from Ala Moana Center and ONE Ala Moana luxury condominium tower. Contact us to make sure you stay updated.
SamKoo expects to finish the entitlement process for a new $250 million project — tentatively named The Central — by the first quarter of 2019, company President Timothy Yi said Friday at the Hawaii Mortgage Bankers Association conference at the Prince Waikiki hotel. Affordable units in the 400-foot, 500-unit tower at 1391 Kapiolani Blvd. will be offered through a lottery system, Yi said.
The Central is the second tower that SamKoo is building through the state’s 201H expedited processing program, which allows the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. to approve exemptions that give affordable housing developers greater design flexibility and cost savings. This program requires buyers, who purchase below-market units, to agree to a 10-year occupancy period. If they sell early, they must give the state a percentage of their equity appreciation and the first right to buy back the property.
Yi said government-sponsored affordable housing was created by the state Legislature “to provide Hawaii residents with a way to purchase in the local market.”
Construction of SamKoo’s first tower, the $200 million Kapiolani Residence, is expected to finish by the last quarter of 2018, Yi said. The 485-unit, 45-story project includes studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
“We had 1,300 applications that came in for 485 units,” Yi said, adding that the project, which included 192 market-rate units, sold out in about a month.
Sixty percent of Kapiolani Residence units were sold below market value to Hawaii residents who make between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income, Yi said. For example, a family of four earning between $80,400 and $120,600 annually met the 2016 income guidelines, he said.
Buyers of affordable units had to be U.S. citizens who were at least 18 years old and didn’t already have a majority interest in a fee-simple or leasehold property, Yi said. Relatives were allowed to gift low-income applicants so that they could qualify, he said.
“That’s why over 90 percent of the affordable buyers were all under the 80 percent area median income or below for our first project,” Yi said.
Affordable pricing at Kapiolani Residence ranged from $270,800 for a studio to $583,900 for a three-bedroom unit. Affordable pricing at The Central, which will have more upgrades than SamKoo’s first tower, is expected to be slightly higher.