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Honolulu affordable housing for Native Hawaiians approved

HONOLULU (AP) — Department of Hawaiian Home Lands officials approved a plan for a 23-story apartment tower expected to provide affordable rentals for 277 Native Hawaiian households.

The agency recently approved the estimated $137 million development in Honolulu, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

The department owns property on the former Stadium Bowl-O-Drome site and last year solicited proposals from private developers to produce the agency’s first high-rise rental housing project for its Native Hawaiian beneficiaries.

The department chose a partnership between builder Stanford Carr Development and contractor Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. over four other proposals.

The tower could be finished in mid-2024, the agency said.

The proposal includes a 210-foot tower with 270 apartments and an adjacent, four-story structure with 295 parking stalls, seven town homes and 4,680 square feet of retail space.

The tower plan does not meet the site’s preservation zoning, but Hawaiian Home Lands is not subject to county zoning rules.

The plan will undergo a state environmental review process with an environmental assessment scheduled to begin in the near future.

Monthly rental rates are projected to range from $633 for studios to $3,133 for three-bedroom town homes.

The project will allow beneficiaries to live in Honolulu at below-market rental rates while awaiting opportunities to receive Hawaiian Home Lands homestead lots for $1 annually, the agency said.

There are about 28,000 Native Hawaiians on a waiting list for homestead leases.

Fewer than 27 percent of applicants could afford a 10 percent down payment for a $150,000 house on a homestead lot, while about 5 percent of applicants preferred an affordable rental, the agency said last year.

“DHHL’s hope is that this affordable rental option not only provides the circumstance for our families to financially ready themselves, but also the convenience of being closer to jobs and schools,” agency Director William Aila Jr. said in a statement.