Courtesy Kobayashi Group

A public-private partnership has replaced an aging building on an underutilized site in Honolulu with a 20-story, mixed-use building that provides 200 affordable homes as well as a new juvenile services center and shelter.

The property was owned by the Hawaii State Judiciary department, which had run a juvenile center and shelter there since the early 1980s. When the state wanted to better utilize the land that is in a prime locationnear a transit hub, downtown Honolulu, and Waikiki, the Judiciary department partnered with the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. and locally based, family-owned developer Kobayashi Group to create Hale Kalele.

“It was the first project in our state to do a cross-agency collaboration,” says Alana Kobayashi Pakkala, executive vice president and managing partner of Kobayashi Group. “It took years of their effort to see the maximization of public land that additionally supports our housing crisis here.”

Courtesy Kobayashi Group

The affordable housing serves families and individuals earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income, while the new center provides support services and a voluntary shelter for at-risk youths.

The two distinct uses have separate entrances and act as two separate buildings from the curbside, having little impact on one another. They also are separated through a ground lease and condominium structure.

The $91 million project has a focus on sustainability, with 59% net-zero renewable energy production on-site, a centralized solar hot water system, Energy Star appliances, and LED lighting; all elements work to help reduce residents’ utility bills. The project was the first in the state to implement CarbonCure concrete as a way to reduce the structure's embodied carbon footprint.

Hale Kalele is Kobayashi Group’s first low-income housing tax credit development. “As we went through the process of people moving in, what I enjoyed personally is hearing how it’s changed their lives being able to get into a rental that is secure and that the rent will stay within the affordability range,” adds Kobayashi Pakkala.