Carson Schultz

Developers EAH Housing and Bronx Pro Group have transformed a small surface parking lot into an island paradise for low-income residents in the heart of Kaka’ako in Honolulu.

The 16-story Nohona Hale features 111 studio apartments with their own private lanais for residents earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income.

Jonathan Lee

The 9,660-square-foot site is leased from the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which had a vision of an affordable housing project that is green, promotes multimodal transit, and has micro-units to maximize the density of the underutilized parking lot.

“Nohona Hale began as a very tall order for a very tiny site. Through its design, amenities, and unique location, Nohona Hale fulfills the goals it set out to accomplish—a 111-micro-unit development that fulfills the principles of smart growth, transit-oriented development, affordability, and sustainability,” according to executives from EAH Housing and Bronx Pro Group.

Located in a thriving arts community near transit, retail, and jobs, the development provides critical affordable housing for the residents in an area that is being gentrified with new market-rate high-rise apartments. Amenities include bicycle, moped, and surfboard storage; community gardens; a lounge area; a fitness room; and on-site laundry facilities.

“Nohona Hale’s success is due to the cooperation and the willingness of many different agencies and organizations to work together to create and support affordable housing,” according to the project developers. “Nohona Hale should serve as a reminder to all of us that we need to continue to redefine and reimagine what affordable housing is and how public and private partnerships can work together to meet the great need that remains.”

The $52.7 million development, which opened in February 2020, also boasts green features, including solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal water heating, LED lighting, and low-flow water fixtures.