Case Study: Sustainable Affordable Housing at Nohona Hale, Kaka’ako, Honolulu
- Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
- Installer: RM Nakamura Plumbing & Mechanical
- Co-Developer: Bronx Pro Group LLC
- Architect: WCIT Architecture
- Completed: 2020
In the vibrant heart of Kaka’ako, Honolulu's trendiest neighborhood, a visionary partnership between two esteemed developers has brought much-needed affordable housing to life. Kaka’ako, a district with an industrial past, is currently experiencing a remarkable transformation. As it evolves from commercial and industrial to residential, embracing the emergence of market-rate condominiums and plans for a nearby rail station, the new Nohona Hale project emerges as an embodiment of responsible development. A collaboration between California-based EAH Housing and New York-based Bronx Pro Group LLC, the development is a testament to sustainable, affordable living in an ever-changing urban landscape.
The development comprises 110 micro-units, with the majority incorporating innovative wall-bed systems that transform into queen-size beds, galley kitchens, and modern bathrooms. These units also feature floor-to-ceiling window walls that open onto private lanais.
WCIT Architecture designed the project, while Swinerton Builders brought it to life. The developers aim to achieve LEED Gold certification, demonstrating their dedication to sustainability. The building incorporates a range of sustainable features, including solar panels, solar hot-water heating systems, energy-efficient LED lighting fixtures, appliances designed for conservation, and low-flow water fixtures. An innovative vertical installation of photovoltaic panels was implemented due to limited roof space.
A notable characteristic of the development is the absence of traditional parking facilities. Instead, Nohona Hale promotes alternative transportation methods, providing ample parking for bicycles and mopeds, along with designated surfboard storage.
Leasing and Affordability:
- The project opened its doors for leasing, with the first residents moving in during February. Rental rates are designed to be inclusive, ranging from $559 to $999. A total of 11 units are allocated to households at 30% of the area median income (AMI), with 99 units catering to those at 60% of the AMI.
Financing and Sustainability:
- The $52.7 million development was successfully financed through a combination of 4% low-income housing tax credits and tax-exempt bonds. JPMorgan Chase serves as the bond holder, while the tax credit equity is provided by Red Stone Equity Partners and Sugar Creek Capital. In addition, the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corp. extended a Rental Housing Revolving Fund loan to support the project.
- The construction commenced in 2018 and achieved completion in 2019, providing 111 modern and affordable apartment units in the heart of Kaka’ako, Honolulu.
Conclusion: Nohona Hale represents not only an affordable housing project but also a symbol of sustainable and inclusive urban development in Kaka’ako. This case study provides a comprehensive exploration of the Nohona Hale project, showcasing its innovative design, commitment to affordability, and unwavering dedication to sustainable living in an ever-evolving neighborhood.