The Hawaii Public Housing Authority said today it is seeking a developer for mixed-income redevelopment of Mayor Wright Homes in downtown Honolulu.   

“This announcement is a starting point in the journey to redevelop and improve the lives of residents that live at one of the oldest and largest low-income public housing properties in the (authority’s) portfolio,” said HPHA Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi at a press conference at the Capitol.

Ouansafi said the plans would “catalyze public and private investment to create a vibrant mixed income community,” one consistent with transit oriented development along the planned rail line.

He said it will also increase affordable rental housing options in the state.

Neil Abercrombie and Hakim Ouansafi, July 11, 2014

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and HPHA Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi at the Capitol, July 11, 2014

Abercrombie Administration

Mayor Wright Housing is a federal low-income public housing development that has been in use for more than 60 years. The complex has long been plagued with crime and disrepair.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state’s request for developers to submit their qualifications represents “a promise to continue to reinvest in this community.”

He added, “Under Hakim’s leadership, the state has aggressively addressed repair backlogs in public housing projects, and security has greatly improved. We are moving forward on long-term improvements that will have a lasting, beneficial impact to families and the community.”

Other requirements needed to be met in the selection of a master developer, according to the administration, are “one-for-one replacement of existing public housing units, high-quality designs and construction that incorporate energy conservation and green practices in a LEED-certifiable project, the ability to finance the project with private funding, incorporation of the surrounding neighborhood, and supporting the development of human capital with job opportunities for low-income public housing residents.”

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority seeks to provide “safe, sanitary and temporary housing to low-income families.” The agency administers more than 6,000 federal and state low-income public housing units on five islands, and almost 2,000 rental assistance vouchers on Oahu.