Salem Receives Approval for $750M Honolulu Towers

The development includes 78 affordable apartments for seniors as well as 450 hotel units and condos. EAH Housing will be in charge of the affordable component.

By Laura Calugar

A rendering of Salem Partners' second project in Honolulu

A rendering of Salem Partners’ second project in Honolulu

Salem Partners received final approval from the Honolulu City Council to build a second major project under Honolulu’s Ala Moana Transit Oriented Development Plan. The company’s $750 million project includes an affordable housing plan for 78 units to be built on a more than an acre site. Salem also is planning a total of 450 hotel and residential units in the glass towers, designed by architectural firm [au] workshop.

Located at 1500 Kapiolani Ave., the mixed-use project is bounded by Kapiolani Boulevard on one side and Makaloa Street on the other. Restaurants and retail shops are included in the project at ground level, along with extensive gardens and plazas. Salem secured a special transit permit that enables the company to build to 400 feet high instead of the 250 feet currently allowed. One of the towers will be 400 feet and the other 350 feet, connected by a bridge that spans from the 35th floor of the taller tower to the rooftop of the second. This arch will include an infinity edge pool and entertainment areas.

Nonprofit EAH Housing will develop and manage the affordable senior housing part of the project. Five floors of apartments will be built atop the parking structure adjacent to the flagship Walgreens. Salem recently sold the Walgreens building for $42.3 million, but retained the parking structure.

“We have enthusiastically embraced the city’s new TOD (transit-oriented development) plan and look forward to the completion of the transit system in 2022. And we are very proud of the affordable housing plan we have created. It is an innovative solution for deeply needed affordable units in Honolulu,” said Salem Partners Managing Director James Ratkovich, in a prepared statement.  

Second Honolulu TOD project

In October 2016, Mana’olana Place was the first development approved under the city’s Ala Moana TOD.  Located at Atkinson and Kapiolani, across from the Hawaii Convention Center, Mana’olana Place will include a new Mandarin Oriental Hotel that will anchor the mixed-use tower. Also designed by [au] workshop, the Mandarin Oriental Honolulu will include 125 keys and 107 branded residences. Construction is slated to start in the second quarter of 2018. Both of Salem Partners’ Kapiolani Boulevard sites were previously occupied by distressed properties. 

“Salem’s projects will result in more than $1.6 billion in new investments in Honolulu over the next five years,” said Salem Partners President William Witte. Mana’olana Place and 1500 Kapiolani are already catalyzing investments in the area. For example, HFF recently secured a $105 million loan on behalf of developer Avalon Group for 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive, a 270-unit affordable and market-rate community in southeastern Honolulu. 

Image courtesy of Salem Partners

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