- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - A new city plan to add two towers up to 23 stories would bring 151 affordable rental units for seniors in Chinatown.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Tuesday that officials are negotiating an agreement with a development company that would bring affordable housing to seniors in the area. Part of the deal would include giving Michaels Development Co. a 65-year lease to develop and manage the Halewai’olu project on about a half-acre lot, reported The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://bit.ly/1ExiiJj).

A plan by former Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the 1990s called for developing the site as a homeless shelter. But the idea received strong opposition from the community.

Lum Sai Ho Tong, the Chinese society that has its headquarters on the property next to the site, helped turn down the homeless shelter plan.

Prior to Tuesday’s news conference, society President Howard Lum said the city was willing to talk to the community. “Hopefully we’ll have a chance to work on all the concerns that we have,” he said.

Caldwell said resolutions from the City Council and lobbying efforts from the Chinatown community members suggested the site be used for affordable rentals for seniors. Caldwell said 80 percent of the 25,000 new affordable housing units needed to meet Oahu’s demand must be within reach of those making 80 percent or less of the annual median income.

Monika Mordasini, Michaels vice president, said a majority of the units will be available to those making 60 percent of median income or less, which is about $40,260.

All 151 units at Halewai’olu would be available only for those aged 62 and older and making 80 percent or less of the median income. For a single person, that is $53, 700 annually.

Prices would range from $450 to $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom unit.

Michaels Development vice president Monika Mordasini says the community can still weigh in on the final plan.

“We’re excited about working in partnership with the local community to further develop the conceptual idea of the Halewai’olu project,” Mordasini said.

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Information from: The Honolulu Advertiser, https://www.honoluluadvertiser.com


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