Affordable condo going up in Salt Lake
By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Andrew Gomes
A local affordable-housing development team plans to build a long-postponed residential high-rise near Moanalua High School in an effort that will inject workforce condominiums into O'ahu's pricey real estate market but is also raising concerns over traffic congestion in Salt Lake.
Salt Lake 6 LLC, a partnership that includes local affordable housing developer Marshall Hung, plans to build a 17-story tower with 269 units priced from $218,000 to $397,500.
Sales of the planned tower's one-and two-bedroom units are slated to begin on Sunday through local broker Marcus & Associates.
Construction of the project, called Country Club Village 6, is scheduled to begin in November and be completed in March 2009.
The project, at 3009 Ala Makahala Place, will be the sixth building in Salt Lake's Country Club Village community that another local developer, Schuler Homes, built in the mid-1990s as a mix of mid-rise and high-rise condos overlooking Honolulu International Country Club.
Schuler, however, in 1996 postponed completion of the final tower because of the state's housing market slump after building 673 of 832 units.
Early last year, Schuler, now a division of Texas-based homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc., revived permitting work on what it had planned as a 16-story tower with 159 units, mainly with the intent to position the project for sale to another developer.
Mike Jones, Schuler division president, said the company sought to sell the site because Schuler is almost exclusively a developer of single-family homes and low-rise townhomes.
"Really our forte is not high-rises," he said. Country Club Village was Schuler's first and only high-rise project, and was made feasible with a pioneering Daewoo Construction Co. system of forming and stacking concrete modules.
Salt Lake 6 bought the tower site last week for $6.5 million after working with Schuler to take over the project. The new developer added 110 units and one story to Schuler's tower concept to make units smaller but more affordable.
City planning officials say no permitting changes were required to add 110 units to the tower plan because deed restrictions allow for up to 975 units at the broader 14-acre Country Club Village community, which would have 942 units with the new tower.
Some area residents, however, are concerned about the project's traffic impact, especially regarding how more residents will affect a traffic-calming roundabout at Ala Napuanani and Likini Street.
"It's certainly going to add to the traffic and congestion in the area," said Grant Tanimoto, a Salt Lake resident and former chairman of the Aliamanu/Salt Lake/Foster Village Neighborhood Board. "I'm hoping someone will take a look at it."
Winston Wong, who lives about a block away from Country Club Village, also worries that the project, which is designed with 540 parking stalls, will impact the urban neighborhood.
"This area is already overcrowded with condos, and the traffic is already very bad," he said. "How much more can this city take before the system fails?"
Vito Galati, a Salt Lake 6 partner, said he hopes the project is well-received for its objective to produce affordable housing.
"We're trying to provide housing that is affordable to residents who are working," he said. We are targeting the resident market instead of the luxury offshore market."
In the last few years, nearly all of the dozen or so high-rise condos completed or under development on O'ahu have been luxury towers, such as The Watermark in Waikiki, Hokua in Kaka'ako and Capitol Place Downtown.
The median price for resales of existing O'ahu condos this year is $325,000, according to the Hono-lulu Board of Realtors. The average list price for new condos last year was $577,953, according to a report by local housing market analyst Ricky Cassiday for Central Pacific HomeLoans.
There are some low- to moderate-priced condos being developed — such as Plantation Town Apartments in Waipahu, Nohona at Kapolei and the planned Halekauwila Place high-rise in Kaka'ako. But affordable housing advocates say the need for more is great.
Salt Lake 6 is a partnership between Hung, Galati and Ken Matsuura that is using past development experience to keep costs down for the Country Club Village 6 tower.
The trio previously built 215 N. King St., a tower next to 'A'ala Park with 251 units that Cassiday said sold for the lowest average price of any new project on O'ahu in 2005 — $243,000.
Hung was also involved with building other affordable towers, including 1133 Waimanu and two towers on Young Street at the site of the old Honolulu police station.
Galati said Country Club Village 6 is based on these models to achieve development cost savings that make unit prices more affordable.
Like some of the other affordable towers, the Salt Lake project won't have a pool or a landscaped recreation deck, but it will join the existing Country Club Village community association and share access to the community pool, park, walking paths and other common-area facilities.
Jones of Schuler said the redesigned project should fit in well with the surrounding community. "I think their price point is good for the area and good for the market," he said. "I think they'll do well there."
Reach Andrew Gomes at firstname.lastname@example.org.