New condominium units up for sale
By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Andrew Gomes
The developer of the twin-tower Moana Pacific condominiums on Kapi'olani Boulevard is set to begin selling a planned sister high-rise nearby.
KC Rainbow Development Co., headed by high-tech entrepreneur Fred Chan, said it plans May 20 to release an initial increment of 30 to 40 units in the 492-unit project called Moana Vista on a first-come, first-served basis.
About 90 more units are scheduled for release in a May 30 lottery.
Prices for the initial 125 or so units range from about $425,000 to $850,000 for the two-bedroom, two-bathroom condos roughly 700 to 1,030 square feet in size.
The project at 1009 Kapi'olani Blvd. next to the nearly complete Public Storage building makai of McKinley High School is the latest to hit the market from the big pipeline of O'ahu condo towers, several of which are under construction mostly in Kaka'ako.
Moana Vista, which will also contain 124 modest-priced rental units, including 28 in a separate building, should be a welcome addition for buyers and renters seeking to become urban dwellers perhaps living closer to work or downsizing from suburban single-family homes.
But the project is also likely to elicit disapproval from area residents who say Moana Vista will add to already congested traffic, and further defile a Honolulu skyline slowly being filled with view-obstructing buildings rising 400 feet in the air.
Moana Vista's launch into sales comes on the heels of waning buyer demand for homes on O'ahu, where modest decreases in the number of home resales in recent months is taking the steam out of rising prices.
Still, the housing market remains relatively strong with prices still at or near records, and forecasts for prices of previously owned homes this year to be 5 percent to 20 percent higher than a year ago.
Condo developers believe demand will remain strong enough for at least the next few years until construction, which can take up to two years to finish, allows them to complete sales and turn over units to buyers.
"Moana Vista is another exciting project following the successful Moana Pacific project," Chan said in a statement. "We believe the project will be in high demand."
With nearly 500 units, Moana Vista is one of the larger condo towers to be developed in this boom cycle. But with an average price for initial units around $550,000, the project is also priced on the low end for the current crop of glass-faced homes in the Honolulu sky.
Two condo towers, Hokua and Ko'olani in Kaka'ako, were recently completed earlier this year with average unit prices at or near $1 million.
Seven or so other towers are under construction between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki. At least six more are planned within the same area.
KC Rainbow's Moana Pacific twin oval towers with 706 units are sold out and should be finished early next year.
Site work is under way for Moana Vista, which is anticipated to begin rising out of the ground by the end of the year and be finished in early 2009.
Allen Leong, KC Rainbow operations director, said a sales office opened Sunday and had about 200 visitors, mostly brokers seeking information for clients.
Tentative sales will begin at 10 a.m. May 20 for the first 30 or 40 units to prospective buyers in the order they enter the project's sales center.
The next roughly 90 units will be available only to prospective owner-occupants who register for a lottery through May 26. The lottery, which is not open to investors planning to resell or rent units, is to be held May 30.
Of the project's 492 units, about 100 will be kept by the developer for rentals to moderate-income tenants under income and rent rules of the Hawai'i Community Development Authority, which required KC Rainbow to devote 20 percent of its project to moderate-income buyers or renters.
KC Rainbow elected to provide rentals, which it must operate under the state agency guidelines for 10 years. The developer has an option to build a separate apartment building with the 100 units on an adjacent lot, which would allow it to sell all the units in Moana Vista.
KC Rainbow has been working on Moana Vista since it acquired the former Flamingo Chuckwagon restaurant site last year from a businessman who planned to build a $25 million home furnishing and design center. A version of the center is now being built as a part of KC Rainbow's twin-tower project.
Reach Andrew Gomes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: The developer of the Moana Vista condominium is required under its permit to build 124 modest-priced rental units, including 28 in a separate building. The units must be rented under income and rent guidelines for at least 15 years. A previous version of this story contained incorrect information.