Thursday, May 30, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, April 4, 2024
How to revive Hawaii’s downtown centers
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 4:59 AM :: 1327 Views :: Honolulu County, Development

How to revive Hawaii’s downtown centers

by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO Grassroot Institute, March 30, 2024

I have said many times that there is no single solution to Hawaii’s housing crisis. We need a variety of approaches to improve the situation.

One promising option is so-called adaptive reuse — that is, turning older office or commercial buildings into residential apartments or condominiums.

In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns, technological changes and other social changes, there are more and more underused buildings throughout Hawaii’s urban areas that could be repurposed to help address Hawaii’s housing crisis.

Examples include the former Walmart building at the corner of King and Bethel streets, the nearby Davies Pacific Center, and the former Bishop Building at 1132 Bishop St., now called The Residences at Bishop Place.

The new owner of the Walmart building, Avalon Group, is envisioning a site that could feature up to 100 new residences, conveniently located near stores, offices and transit stops.

The same company has been working to transform the Davies Pacific Center into a 352-unit residential project to be called “Modea.”

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the developers.

For example, last year I wrote about how the Davies Pacific Center conversion was being held up by a zoning rule that requires residential spaces to have windows that open.

The rule doesn’t make allowances for air conditioning and ventilation systems, and refitting every window in an office building is expensive, if not financially unfeasible.

The developer requested a waiver for the project, but a year later, the permit is still pending.

In lieu of action by the city, two state legislative bills could help speed up adaptive reuse projects — HB2090 and SB2948 — which would allow residential uses in areas zoned for commercial use, and require that Hawaii’s four counties allow adaptive reuse in their county building codes.

The point of the bills is that it is highly inefficient to force homebuilders to lobby for a change in the law every time a new zoning challenge arises.

It would be far better for the counties to address these barriers ahead of time by adapting their building and zoning rules to encourage adaptive reuse.

Then Hawaii’s deteriorating city centers could blossom once again, while also providing islanders with something they desperately need — new housing..
____________

This commentary was Keli‘i Akina’s weekly “President’s Corner” column for March 30, 2024. If you would like to have his columns emailed to you on a regular basis, please call 808-864-1776 or email info@grassrootinstitute.org.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii