1. Who is the developer of the Project?
Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) is a faith-based non-profit developer, associated with the United Church of Christ. Headquartered in Long Beach, California and in business since 1961, RHF has board members who reside in Hawaii. More about RHF at their website, www.rhf.org.
2. How did RHF get awarded the Project?
The project was awarded to RHF through a State-issued Request For Proposal (RFP) process on behalf of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) in which developers “apply” for the Project by submitting their qualifications and proposals on how they would develop and operate the Project. Because the conditions put forward by the State in the RFP are specific and binding, significant deviations from the conditions in the RFP are not allowed.
3. Who is working on the Project for RHF?
Avalon Development, a Honolulu-based commercial developer, is partnered with RHF. Avalon will be responsible for HPHA’s new office building, and RHF will be responsible for the residential buildings. The design team working for RHF and Avalon includes:
- Concordia Architects: Community Engagement, Master Planning, Architect
- PBR Hawaii: Environmental Impact Statement and Zoning Entitlements
- Design Partners Incorporated: Architect
There are other smaller, task-specific consultants such as a traffic consultant, historical consultant, archaeological consultant, and flora/fauna consultant.
4. Has RHF done projects in Hawaii before?
Yes. RHF has developed Puahi Kapuna Hale and Philips Street Apartments. Both these projects are elderly affordable projects and still owned by RHF and managed by the operations arm of RHF, Foundation Property Management.
5. What is the HPHA site zoned?
Under the Honolulu Land Use Ordinance (LUO) the site area slated for the Project is zoned R-5 Residential. This is what typical single-family house lots are zoned. R-5 zoning normally limits building heights to 25’.
6. How is the Project going to be built if the land is zoned R-5?
In order to allow for the larger buildings required, several approaches are available to the Project. These include:
Public Uses and Structures. Under the LUO, “Public Uses and Structures” are allowed in all zoning districts. Because the Project is on State land, is being developed for a State agency (HPHA), and will be using State tax credits provided by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), the Project may be viewed as “Public Uses and Structures”. This allows the LUO development standards for R-5 zoning to be waived and higher density and building heights allowed.
Interim Project Development –Transit (IPD-T). Under Ordinance 16-26, by virtue of its location in relation to the Kapalama and Iwilei Transit Stations, the Project may be subject to the zoning conditions normally applied to sites within Transit Oriented Development (TOD) designated areas. This Ordinance would allow for greater density and height than R-5 zoning allows.
HRS 201(h) Affordable Housing. This section of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), Division 1, Chapter 201(h), allows for increasing development standards (density, height and other exemptions) beyond what is allowed under R-5 zoning, for affordable housing projects that meet the requirements of HHFDC and/or the City and County of Honolulu.
Rezoning. To allow greater density and height, the site may seek conventional rezoning from current R-5 Residential to AMX-3 Apartment Mixed-Use, High Density.
LUO Provisions for Elderly Housing. Section 21-5.610A of the LUO allows for increases in density and height for projects that provide housing for the elderly.
Each of these alternate approaches will allow for greater area density and increased building heights beyond what the current R-5 zoning presently allows.
7. How many residential units are planned for the site?
After extensive review and input from the community, HPHA and RHF believe the project can support between 800 to 1,000 rental units.
8. What kind of units will be developed on the site?
It is recognized by both HPHA and RHF, that with our increasingly aging population, there is a demand for affordable senior housing that needs to be addressed, and that specific market will be addressed in some percentage of units that will be provided. There will be NO new public housing units built in this Project. No for-sale units are currently being contemplated.
9. Will there be uses other than residential units on the site?
Yes. The RFP calls for a new office building of about 30,000 square feet to replace the existing HPHA offices to be demolished. There will be a small amount of commercial space at ground level.
The “common amenity space” may include the following uses:
- Fitness Area / Yoga
- Library / Study
- Computer Room
- Multipurpose Room / TV Room
- Game Room
- Offices (May include Manager, Assistant Manager, S.S. Coordinator, Maintenance Office)
- Common Bathrooms
- Laundry Rooms
10. Will RHF be buying the land from the State to do this Project?
No. The ownership of the land remains under the State. RHF will enter into a land lease agreement with the State.
11. Who will manage and operate the Project when it’s done?
RHF will manage and operate the Project through its operations arm. RHF’s policy is to continue to own and operate the projects it develops and RHF does not sell a project it has developed.
12. How tall will the new buildings be?
Obviously, the number of units that will be provided will affect the height of the buildings. Preliminary studies indicate that the height of these buildings should not obscure the view of the ocean from any vantage point (except Puahala Homes).
13. What will happen to the existing Puahala Homes buildings from the Project site?
No changes are currently planned under this development. The RFP excluded the Puahala Homes buildings from the Project. There will be changes to the lower parking lot areas for Puahala Homes parking. It is the intent of the Project to integrate the Puahala Homes buildings into the new development.
14. What will happen to the existing Lanakila Senior Center?
No changes are currently planned for the Lanakila Senior Center. The RFP excluded the Senior Center from the Project. There will be changes to the parking lot areas where the Senior Center parking is presently located. It is the intent of the Project to integrate the Senior Center into the new development.
15. How many cars will be parked on the site?
The number of parking spaces provided will depend on the final residential unit count, commercial floor area, HPHA staff and visitor parking, and replacement of any existing Senior Center parking spaces that would be impacted.
16. What is the schedule for the Project?
The Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice will be published on August 8, initiating a 30-day public review period ending September 7. Depending on the comments received and the research necessary to address comments, a Draft EIS may be available for public review and comments in the 4th quarter of 2017.
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