‘VER­TI­CAL’ SCHOOL

Deal to put cam­pus in condo com­plex ad­vances.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By An­drew Gomes agomes@starad­ver­tiser.com

A planned public school en­vi­sioned to be a “ver­ti­cal” pro­to­type for ur­ban Honolulu ar­eas near tran­sit sta­tions is on track to be built sooner rather than later as part of a Kakaako project with two res­i­den­tial apart­ment tow­ers. The Hawaii Hous­ing Fi­nance and De­vel­op­ment Corp., a state agency fa­cil­i­tat­ing af­ford­able-hous­ing de­vel­op­ment, was given the green light on May 11 by its board to ne­go­ti­ate an agree­ment with the state Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion for in­clud­ing a fourstory el­e­men­tary school as part of the first of two apart­ment tow­ers to be built by a pri­vate devel­oper on state land next to Mother Wal­dron Park. Pre­vi­ously, it had not been de­ter­mined whether the school would be part of the first tower or sec­ond tower in the long-de­layed project known as 690 Po­hukaina.

“It’s on track to move for­ward,” said Lind­say Cham­bers, a DOE spokes­woman.

DOE has been work­ing on adding an el­e­men­tary school in Kakaako for sev­eral years to avoid over­tax­ing ex­ist­ing schools in the area as more peo­ple move into the ur­ban neigh­bor­hood that has been un­der­go­ing a con­do­minium tower de­vel­op­ment boom over the last few years.

One of the keys to mov­ing ahead with a school at 690 Po­hukaina, a site that was home to a public school decades ago, was fund­ing ob­tained by DOE. State law­mak­ers this year ap­proved $16 mil­lion that can be used for plan­ning and de­sign work, pro­duc­ing an en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment and some con­struc­tion that could in­clude in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment for the school, which is ex­pected to be in a four-story build­ing next to the ini­tial 690 Po­hukaina tower.

The to­tal cost of the school, which would serve 750 stu­dents, has been es­ti­mated at $40 mil­lion. DOE would have un­til the end of next year’s Leg­isla­tive ses­sion to se­cure the bal­ance, and if that isn’t ac­com­plished then an agree­ment to build the school in the first tower could be ter­mi­nated.

Of the $16 mil­lion, $6 mil­lion for de­sign work lapses at the end of next year, so there is some ur­gency to move for­ward. HHFDC an­tic­i­pates be­ing able to ex­e­cute a de­vel­op­ment agree­ment with Alaka‘i De­vel­op­ment LLC for the ini­tial tower by Oc­to­ber, fol­lowed by pre-de­vel­op­ment and per­mit­ting work. Con­struc­tion is pro­jected to be­gin in late 2019 and fin­ish in late 2021. Alaka‘i was se­lected by HHFDC last year to de­velop the first tower, and the com­pany will build the school for DOE. Alaka‘i will lease the land for 75 years at $1 a year but will pay a pre­mium up­front for the ap­praised mar­ket value of such a lease on the land, which is owned by the state Depart­ment of Land and Nat­u­ral Re­sources but is be­ing set aside for HHFDC.

The 400-foot tower is es­ti­mated to cost $300 mil­lion and is slated to have

390 apart­ments, of which 60 per­cent, or 234 units, will be re­served for house­holds earn­ing up to 140 per­cent of Honolulu’s me­dian in­come at monthly rents rang­ing from $2,257 for a stu­dio to $3,343 for a three-bed­room unit. This in­come limit trans­lates to $98,560 for a sin­gle per­son, $112,560 for a cou­ple or $140,700 for a fam­ily of four. A sec­ond tower with 200 apart­ments will serve low-in­come res­i­dents who make no more than 60 per­cent of the me­dian in­come. This trans­lates to $42,240 for a sin­gle per­son, $48,240 for a cou­ple or $60,300 for a fam­ily of four. Monthly rents in the sec­ond tower would range from $1,056 for a stu­dio to $1,568 for a three-bed­room unit.

A de­vel­op­ment timetable for the sec­ond tower has not been de­ter­mined. HHFDC plans to is­sue a re­quest for pro­pos­als to build the sec­ond tower, which is ex­pected to be fi­nanced largely through a com­bi­na­tion of public money that could in­clude loans, bonds and tax cred­its is­sued by the agency. The 690 Po­hukaina project un­der HHFDC is a

It’s a re­ally ter­rific project. We are ex­cited to be pro­vid­ing a school in a new for­mat to the peo­ple of Hawaii.” Jon Wal­len­strom An Alaka‘i De­vel­op­ment ex­ec­u­tive

re­birth of a pre­vi­ously stalled ini­tia­tive an­nounced in 2011 by then-Gov. Neil Aber­crom­bie to pro­duce af­ford­able hous­ing. An­other state agency, the Hawaii Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Author­ity, had is­sued a re­quest for pro­pos­als to de­velop the same site and in 2013 se­lected a plan for 804 rental apart­ments by Ohiobased For­est City Re­alty Trust.

For­est City’s plan was bogged down by lease ne­go­ti­a­tions and the ef­fort by DOE to in­clude a school. For­est City was agree­able to the ad­di­tion but HCDA said such a change would vi­o­late com­pet­i­tive bid­ding pro­cure­ment rules. HHFDC took con­trol last year, and Hawaii ex­ec­u­tives of For­est City formed Alaka‘i to con­tinue work­ing on the project. “It’s a re­ally ter­rific project,” said Jon Wal­len­strom, a prin­ci­pal with Alaka‘i De­vel­op­ment. “We are ex­cited to be pro­vid­ing a school in a new for­mat to the peo­ple of Hawaii.”

STAR-AD­VER­TISER / 2015

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