Hawaii Kai’s Newest High-rise – 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive

6a012876842898970c01bb078da961970d-300wiIn October of 2014, after nearly 2 decades of planning, false starts and a public battle to save one of Oahu’s last wetlands, construction began on 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive. The nearly 4-acre parcel at the corner of Keahole Street and Hawaii Kai Drive has long been one of the last buildable parcels of land in Honolulu’s upscale community of Hawaii Kai. Over the years plans for project have swung between affordable senior housing to million dollar condos. The pendulum has now settled firmly in the middle with a mix of market priced and affordable rental apartments.

The History of 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive – A Troubled Timeline

2000 – 21st Century Homes, the “for profit” arm of the non-profit Hawai’i Intergenerational Community Development Association (HICDA) purchases the property.

2003 – HICDA completes a 31-unit affordable senior citizen rental apartment complex on an adjacent parcel.

2006 – HICDA director and principal investor in 21st Century Homes, Mike Klein announces plans for a luxury condominium project named Hale Alii. Plans include a private park with tennis courts, swimming pool and putting green to be built on 5 acres of preservation wetlands adjacent to the condominium.

2007 – Wrangling over affordable housing requirements, height variances and the impending financial crisis keep the project on the drawing board.

May, 2009 – Television crews are called to the scene by concerned citizens after contractors begin grading work on the preservation land and cover portions of an 800 year old Hawaiian Heiau.

June, 2009 – Investigations are launched over whether developer followed preservation plan. Department of planning and permitting alleges developer did not have a permit for construction on the site. Members of various community groups criticizing the developer receive letters threatening legal action.

Late 2009 – Korean developer Hanwha becomes principal investor in the project.

2010 – Newly appointed project manager, Mike Greco apologizes at a neighborhood board meeting and pledges better relations. Hanwha sells the 5-acre preservation parcel to The Trust for Public Land for $650,000, a fraction of its appraised value. The land is transferred to the Livable Hawaii Kai Hui to restore, maintain and teach others about the natural and cultural legacy of the site.

October, 2011 – Official groundbreaking is held for the relaunched $300 million luxury condominium project now dubbed Hale Ka Lae. Sales begin on the 242-unit project with prices ranging from $675,000 to more than $3 million. Plans include the construction of the required affordable units on the site of nearby Lunalilo Senior Care Home.

Late 2011 – Hanwha cites slowing global economy and puts construction on hold indefinitely.

December, 2013 – Hanwha retains local developer, Avalon Group to reassess project and obtain financing.

September, 2014 – Avalon CEO Christine Camp announces building permits have been obtained and financing secured for a $108 million 269-unit rental project to include 54 affordable units. The two and three bedroom units are planned to rent for $2,200 to $3,700 per month with affordable units ranging from $1,475 to $2,200.

October, 2014 – Hawaiian Dredging begins construction on the newly renamed 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive. The two 10-story towers are slated to be completed by mid-2016 and Avalon Group will manage the building.