Rentals or fee simple?

After community concern over maintaining affordable housing units, Howard Hughes withdrew a request to switch the focus of one of its highrise projects from fee simple condos to rentals.

Will Caron

Developer Howard Hughes Corporation has withdrawn a request made to the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority (HCDA) to switch the focus of its 988 Halekauwila highrise to affordable rentals instead of fee simple condos.

During an informational community meeting held last night, members of the public expressed concern that the request to focus on rentals was really a way for the developer to get away with building less affordable workforce housing than it initially promised in order to gain approval for the project.

But Howard Hughes Corp. Senior Vice President David Striph insisted that the company was not trying to lessen the number of affordable units it would have to build at 988 Halekauwila, or anywhere else in the Ward Village master plan.

Striph said that research conducted by the developer shows that there are five times more people interested in renting than in buying and that the company felt it should keep that in mind during the project’s planning.

HCDA executive director Tony Ching said the HCDA board is reviewing its reserve housing policy and that there could be changes ahead.

Howard Hughes plans to begin construction on 988 Halekauwila next year and is asking to build two more highrises at Ward Warehouse.