(HONOLULU, HI) Construction is underway on a new housing project that will add critically needed affordable apartment rentals in the downtown Honolulu Chinatown district. An adaptive reuse of the three-story historic Hocking Building at 2 North King Street, the 40-unit affordable housing project will provide rentals for individuals and families earning up to 30 to 50 percent of the area median income, making it amongst the most affordable rental projects in development on O‘ahu.
The Hocking Building project is being developed by Skyler Pacific LLC, Pacific Development Group through its affiliate Hawaii Pacific LLC, and Waialae Avenue Partners LLC in partnership with the State of Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), the City and County of Honolulu, Hunt Capital Partners and First Hawaiian Bank. Mark Development, Inc. will be the property manager. The project architect is CDS International, and the general contractor is Alan Shintani, Inc.
The estimated $31 million project is receiving financing in the form of a Rental Housing Revolving Fund loan and federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) administered by HHFDC, federal historic tax credits, an Affordable Housing Loan from the City and County of Honolulu, and financing from First Hawaiian Bank. The housing tax credits are syndicated through Hunt Capital Partners.
“We welcome this wonderfully designed project to Chinatown’s housing landscape,” said Governor Josh Green, M.D. “We’re hopeful that other developers will follow suit and consider repurposing buildings from Honolulu’s existing inventory of properties into much needed housing units.”
“This is another huge step towards activating the Downtown-Chinatown area, and by helping to add critically-important affordable rental housing inventory in our urban core, we are following through on a promise to breathe life back into this community,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “These new housing units will not only provide a safe and welcoming place to call home, but also foster a stronger sense of community in one of the most ideal and historic areas on the island of Oʻahu.”
“Critical affordable housing like this would not be possible without the financing and other support of our federal, state and city administrations, as well as our partners from the private sector, who are all committed to meeting this urgent need,” added Kevin Unemori, Skyler Pacific partner.
“Pacific Development Group is proud to work with Skyler Pacific in developing critically needed affordable housing for downtown Honolulu. Getting to this stage is a major step in accomplishing that goal,” said Joe Michael, President, Pacific Development Group.
As a condition of government financing, rents will remain affordable for low-income households for at least 61 years, with units reserved for households earning no more than 30% to 50% of the annual median income in Honolulu.
The 50% income limit is currently $45,850 for a single person, $52,400 for a couple and $65,500 for a family of four.
Based on the 2023 U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines, rents (including utilities) will range from $687 for a studio for those at the 30% AMI level to $1473 for a two-bedroom for someone at the 50% AMI level.
Amenities planned for the building include a central courtyard, community meeting room, exercise facility, central tenant storage area, bike storage area, laundry room and computer lab with high-speed internet access. The building will also include sustainability features such as a photovoltaic system, solar water heating, ENERGY STAR® appliances, LED lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
Adaptive re-use is an environmentally sustainable building method that revitalizes and repurposes older buildings, reducing waste associated with demolition. The project also preserves the historic character of the site, which comprises the three-story Hocking Building constructed in 1914 and a section formerly part of the Aseu Building constructed in 1886.
The Institute for Human Services will provide services such as specialized case management, health and wellness and employment support to residents at or below the 30% of AMI level.
Construction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2024.
About the development team:
The Hocking Building’s development team includes Skyler Pacific LLC, Pacific Development Group through its affiliate Hawaii Pacific LLC, and Waialae Avenue Partners LLC (together as Hocking Building LP). The project’s property manager is Mark Development, Inc. The partner development team has collectively been involved in development or management of more than 4,000 affordable housing units in the U.S. Among these are other Hawaiʻi affordable-housing projects completed or in progress including Hālawa View and Hālawa View II Apartments, Kewalo Apartments and Kūlia I Ka Nu‘u.