The developer of ProsPac Tower, a proposed 400-foot condominium tower near Ala Moana Center, has withdrawn plans to include a separate entrance for lower-income residents.  

Instead, the proposed 429-unit tower with 78 units billed as affordable housing will include two entrances, one on Makaloa Street and one along Keeaumoku Street near Walmart, accessible to all residents.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine removed the proposal from a zoning committee agenda this month after community members voiced concerns that a separate entrance would segregate residents by class.

Such an architectural feature has been called a “poor door” by mainland critics.

ProsPac Tower would include 78 affordable rental units among its for-sale, market-rate units.

City and County of Honolulu

Pine met with the developer and community members to resolve the issue.

“I have to praise the developer who helped to make it happen,” she said. “They basically are tearing down a bunch of walls on the the first floor.”

The developer of ProsPac Tower is seeking a transit-oriented development special permit, which waives zoning requirements for projects near planned rail stations in exchange for community benefits, like affordable housing.

With a few suggested changes, the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting recommended the Honolulu City Council approve the proposal.

The affordable units will consist mostly of studios and are available to people earning 80 percent or less of area median income ($58,600 for an individual).

“We just need to flood the market with as many units in that (80 percent AMI) category as possible,” Pine said. “They completely redesigned the building to accommodate that.”

Victor Geminiani, co-executive director of the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, submitted testimony in support of the project, but he had urged the developer to remove the separate entrances.

“The complex includes a number of firsts for Transient Oriented Development, including mixing significant numbers of moderate income rental units at 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) in the primarily owner occupied building, as well as the use of no public financing,” Geminiani said in a statement released by Pine’s office. “It represents the best design, so far, for duplication throughout the rail corridor.”

About the Author