- Associated Press - Friday, October 7, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - Honolulu officials have approved plans for a 400-foot-tall condominium-hotel tower to be built across from the Hawaii Convention Center.

The City Council voted Wednesday in support of Manaolana Partners‘ proposal for the 36-story building. The company plans to build more than 230 residential and visitor units along with a street-level commercial plaza, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (https://bit.ly/2e85WGM).

The developer agreed to provide $7 million in community benefits for the project, including an affordable housing component, in exchange for greater density of the structure and fewer restrictions.

The company has the option to partner with a public housing development agency to provide at least 20 affordable housing rental units or contribute the monetary equivalent of the units up to $3 million into a city housing development fund. Manaolana Partners can also build the 20 affordable renting units.

But housing advocates have said there needs to be more units catering to low-income residents included in the plans.

“This is not a bad project, but we’re concerned that after many, many years . of advocating for affordable housing, the amount that has been produced has been pretty small,” said Bob Nakata of Faith Action for Community Equality and the Housing Now Coalition. “There is tremendous need for housing up and down the line and we really need to be addressing that all the way.”

James Ratkovich of Manaolana Partners said the company will continue to meet with the community.

Councilman Trevor Ozawa represents the area where the tower will be built. He said the project will provide 540 full-time jobs each year of construction and 250 full-time jobs once the building is finished.

“That’s a good thing for our community,” Ozawa said. “This project will transform an area of my district that I believe is in dire need of revitalization.”

Construction is expected to start next year and finish up in 2020, Ratkovich said.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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