Kakaako high-rise condo plan draws hundreds of buyers

Published On: Mar 09 2013 03:52:00 PM HST

The skyline in Kakaako is about to change with the development of yet another high-rise condominium.

Hundreds of applicants spent their Saturday morning in line, hoping to be an owner on "801 South St."  The project is being built on the site of the old newspaper building.

Even while knowing the chance to own a condo would be a matter of luck, it didn't stop the long line that began forming before 8 a.m. this morning.
"It's fate right?  So, if I get the number, I get the number," said Natalie Wong, a prospective buyer who was standing in line with her mother.
"I'm just crossing my fingers hoping that I can get something," said Mike Feliciano, who lives in Kailua and wants to move closer to Waikiki where he works.
Prospective buyers were getting their first look at the first development designated for Hawaii's "workforce housing" meaning condos priced for households earning 140 percent of area median income and below.
"This project is not subsidized by the government. It's 100 percent privately financed, so there's no restriction on deed or on buybacks," said Jason Nishikawa of Marcus and Associates.
Prices on the 635 units range from $250,000 to $550,000. Maintenance fees will be between $200 and $300 a month.
"It's a segment of the market that's just starving for inventory right now and being that it's a new project, even better," said Nishikawa.
"It's a fabulous thing. I mean, right now, there's no affordable housing in the urban core of Honolulu," said real estate analyst Stephany Sofos.
Sofos said people's desire for a shorter commute is spurring the demand for more housing in Kakaako where 801 South St. is just one of 20 planned residential projects in the area.  But she says prospective buyers should expect the inevitable side effects.
"We don't have enough infrastructure to provide all that's being developed right now. You need better roads, you need better sewer systems, you need more facilities. But all in all, it's going to happen," said Sofos.  "The 21st-century Waikiki is going to be Kakaako."
Developers plan to keep the façade of the old Honolulu Advertiser building with construction expected to begin this summer. The first condos would be available in 2015.
Interested buyers have until March 22 to turn in the necessary paperwork.  The lottery will be held on March 23.  Depending on demand, a second tower of 400 units could also be in the works.


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