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Kuilei Place, Taking A 2nd Look: Sustainable and Affordable

I wanted to dive a little deeper on Kuilei Place, a new affordable building by the Kobayashi Group. Forgive me, this has been sitting in my que for a while. I released a blog on the new project and you can check it out here: CLICK HERE back in February! Soon after that release, I received an email from a dear SLHi follower asking why I supported this building since it was such a large development that will displace residents, cause congestion for traffic and be an eye sore during its construction. I wanted to share my perspective and hope it helps soften the blow of yet another large building being built in Hawai’i.

Here was my response…

“I understand where you are coming from, trust me, if it was up to me and I had the money and decisions on this project and had to put out over 600 affordable units in Honolulu, it would be different from what is being executed. But since I don’t and it’s being built regardless and it is over 60% (604 units) for affordable housing which makes it possible for local residents to obtain property for much lower than market, I support getting local residents in, that want to live there who cannot afford something else of this caliber for the price they are offering. The restrictions require local residents to live in their units for at least 10yrs and after that time they are able to take advantage of their appreciation and truly find a home that can be that family’s legacy, perhaps a real piece of property and some land they can grow food and pass down to their children. It’s a way in for local families here in Hawaii to build wealth from a starter home.

Also, there are sustainable measures and green build they are putting in and I do give this developer credit on their grey water reuse system that they have invested in, which I hope will become a standard for all buildings moving forward. This will be a huge deal very soon as we have heard that the city may change how they bill water to condo buildings. From what I heard they will assess how many residents in a building and allot a certain amount of water per resident and water usage over that will be more charged to the condo association. Since hardly any buildings have their water separately metered this will be a challenge, maintence fees will jump up for sure. This building will have their water separately metered and be saving millions of gallons of water as they recycle the grey water for landscaping and toilets.

Another huge sustainable measure is their Solar Hot Water System for the residents and the whole building’s common areas. This will be a huge energy saver and in return cost saver for the residents as electricity too continues to rise and increase maintence fees. Again their electricity is separately metered. This building, if managed properly will probably have the lowest maintenance fees out there for quite some time. It’s currently estimated at $0.68/sf! Without these big developments we wouldn’t have a lot of the innovative technology and sustainable systems that do help our sustainable goals for our state and save residents money on their costs of living.

I definitely support the affordable housing. All housing for local residents is important, from shelters, to transitional housing, affordable housing, workforce housing and to reserved housing. We are lacking clean, healthy homes for our local residents and can’t put them out fast enough for the demand and within budget. Also, the market units of around 400 also have to initially be owner occupied residents of Hawai’i. That of course will change if it doesn’t sell.

This neighborhood does need some love and revitalization, many low rise buildings that are in poor or unfavorable conditions, some vacant, being squatted, etc. This development with new businesses, newer more valuable units will increase home values in the neighborhood over time as well. Do keep in mind, currently all the low rise walk-up buildings are not individually owned units. Each building is owned by a single owner and were solely rentals. This building will offer over 1000 new purchases for local residents and for around 600 of them, they will be first time home buyers! Lastly, security and patrol should help with safety and cleanliness.

Anyhow I do try my best to look at the overall situation and work with what we have and the reality of what is to come. We can’t win every battle but we can definitely have our voice and our influence. I know a lot of local residents that would want to live here and if I can help them get into the affordable units that will be a dream come true for those and build wealth for their family in the future. Keeping city, city and country, country I think is important. If this building were built outside of the high density of Honolulu, it would be hard to swallow, not gonna lie. Thank you for sharing your voice and hopefully we can have a greater impact on future builds and see even more sustainable, food security communities that have more holistic closed loop systems. That is where my passion lies, is bringing local organic food growing to our communities versus importing. Incorporating it into future communities, finding ways to bring it to existing communities and in return supporting the local farmers and their businesses so they can thrive.”

PS...her response was, I had no idea about that Affordable project, I thought you were talking about a project coming up by her condo in a neighborhood on the otherside of town. Even though it was a misunderstanding, I still found this information helpful for those considering Kuilei Place and affordable housing, so here it is.

I may not convince everyone here but the key is to be open, working together and compromise. Let’s keep fighting for Hawaii’s future and find ways for us to be more sustainable and grow as a community.

If you are interested in applying for Kuilei Place, please reach out right away, they are still taking applications. I’m here to help and would love to represent you as your buyer’s agent! More info, checkout my previous blog on Kuilei Place: CLICK HERE .

Christina Laney Mitre



*All photos and brochures of Kuilei Place is credited to the Kobayashi Group and sales team.


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