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Brookfield moves ahead with Ala Moana rental tower plans as it seeks TOD amendment
By Janis L. Magin – Senior Editor, Pacific Business News

Link (paywall): https://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2020/07/01/brookfield-ala-moana-rental-tower-tod-amendment.html?iana=hpmvp_lulu_news_headline

Brookfield Properties is preparing to seek approval from the City and County of Honolulu for increased height and density for a 595-unit rental tower that will include 126 affordable units planned for a site adjacent to Ala Moana Center.

Brookfield revealed the plans for the tower last fall when it first went to the Ala Moana Neighborhood Board, and has since hired architect OMA New York to design the building adjacent to the Ala Moana Center parking structure, which would also be used for tenant parking.

The developer is preparing an application for an interim planned development-transit permit for its Ala Moana Plaza project, a rental tower that would replace the one-story Ala Moana Plaza strip center on the corner of Piikoi and Kona streets. The current plan is to start construction in the fourth quarter of 2021 with a completion date in the summer of 2024, according to Kris Hui, Brookfield’s vice president of mixed-use development in Hawaii.

The building would be similar to the developer’s Lilia Waikiki rental building under construction in Waikiki which has a spring 2022 completion date, with 80% of the units at market rents and 20% of the units affordable for tenants making no more than 80% of the area median income.

The developer is also seeking an amendment to the city’s Ala Moana neighborhood transit-oriented development zone to include Brookfield’s 50-acre Ala Moana Center in the TOD overlay allowing for increased density and increased height limits of 400 feet for future development on the mall property, from the current plan of 350 feet on the Kona Street side and 150 feet on the Ala Moana Boulevard side of the property.

An update on the TOD plan was presented to the city’s Zoning and Housing Committee, which deferred action, on June 18. The plan was then presented to a virtual meeting of the Ala Moana Neighborhood Board last week.

Hui told Pacific Business News that the Honolulu rail project's Ala Moana station is being planned for Brookfield property, an elevated station straddling a section of Kona Street — the developer owns the stretch of the street that runs between the mall and Kapiolani Boulevard. Hui also said the city is seeking to use part of the mall's ground-floor parking lot adjacent to the station for a bus terminal.

“When the rail eventually comes, which we believe it will, it might be in 2026 [so] the planning should start now,” Hui said. “The TOD document is a planning document, so if that's the vision for the neighborhood, are we either included in it, or not, to be able to understand what boundaries of vision we can create to enhance the whole neighborhood.”
However, Brookfield doesn’t need to wait for the city to decide on its TOD amendment for Ala Moana Plaza project.

According to a summary of the Ala Moana Neighborhood Transit-Oriented Development published by the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting in August, the Ala Moana Plaza site is part of the “Kapiolani District” in the TOD zone, which has a proposed height limit of 400 feet and a floor-area ratio of 7.0 with “community benefits.” A separate district that includes the rest of the mall is the subject of the amendment.

“The plaza project is in a zone that doesn't relate, in theory, to what changes may be proposed by the city for the planning document,” Hui said. “So that's one project that we can bring forward.”
 

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Thanks redbmwc for the great photo updates. Good to see the windows coming up on Azue. There are very blue, but I like them. Did you move to the islands or just visiting? And mahalo floor23 for the usual great news for future projects in the works in Honolulu. Appreciate all of your efforts. I like the flare-out on the bottom of the Ala Moana Plazza conceptual rendering. Funny they have this drawing without showing the height cause that is up to them getting the TOD exceptions which importantly includes new and greater height limits. They should and I hope they get the exceptions (like everyone else). The rendering also doesn't show the rail running in front of the building. I hope the rail height doesn't exceed the building's 5 story platform, which will screw up the building's design.
 

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russian_guy
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Thanks redbmwc for the great photo updates. Good to see the windows coming up on Azue. There are very blue, but I like them. Did you move to the islands or just visiting? And mahalo floor23 for the usual great news for future projects in the works in Honolulu. Appreciate all of your efforts. I like the flare-out on the bottom of the Ala Moana Plazza conceptual rendering. Funny they have this drawing without showing the height cause that is up to them getting the TOD exceptions which importantly includes new and greater height limits. They should and I hope they get the exceptions (like everyone else). The rendering also doesn't show the rail running in front of the building. I hope the rail height doesn't exceed the building's 5 story platform, which will screw up the building's design.
creativenative, I moved to Hawaii from Moscow, Russia 2 years ago. A watched Moscow's downtown rising almost from the scratch in 2006. Now it looks absolutely incredible probably even cooler than the one in LA, California.
When I moved to Honolulu in 2018 I came across the idea that Kaka'ako's would become my passion here. Since I got a real estate salesperson's license I'm trying to get more involved into Kaka'ako's real estate market.
 

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Thanks redbmwc for the great photo updates. Good to see the windows coming up on Azue. There are very blue, but I like them. Did you move to the islands or just visiting? And mahalo floor23 for the usual great news for future projects in the works in Honolulu. Appreciate all of your efforts. I like the flare-out on the bottom of the Ala Moana Plazza conceptual rendering. Funny they have this drawing without showing the height cause that is up to them getting the TOD exceptions which importantly includes new and greater height limits. They should and I hope they get the exceptions (like everyone else). The rendering also doesn't show the rail running in front of the building. I hope the rail height doesn't exceed the building's 5 story platform, which will screw up the building's design.
They will get the height variance eventually because the developer holds all the leverage. Thanks to Covid-19 the county is really looking to generate additional revenue and the fees generated from development is their next greatest source outside of property taxes. So if they want the fees from this project they will have to give them the height variance to proceed.
 
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