Hughes Corp. Fails to Wheedle Out of Affordable Housing Requirement
by Chris Lethem, Candidate for SD12, www.chrislethem.com
I’m delighted developer Howard Hughes has retreated from asking the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) to cut in half its – supposedly affordable – “reserved housing” requirement. The housing requirement is a promise Hughes made in order to gain approval for its massive, 22-tower Kaka’ako luxury high-rise condominium development.
Hughes’ profit margin would have gained from reducing its “affordable” housing requirement from 860 units to down to a possible 430 out of 4,300. No question that Hughes’ withdrawal, in the face of growing community opposition and skepticism about HCDA’s operations from many in the City Council, the Legislature and elsewhere, is a victory for the people.
Hughes says the withdrawal of its relief application is “temporary.” Not likely.
Hughes was attempting to slip through a change while HCDA’s high-handed, developer friendly board, now a lame duck in the aftermath of chief backer Abercrombie’s defeat, still exercises public-be-damned powers. But each passing day public awareness grows, lessening HCDA’s ability to push any developer-driven agenda.
The community, including members of the legislature and the City Council, may move to abolish HCDA in the next legislative session and return it to the city, or at least subject HCDA to more community control than its operations currently display.
Related: Howard Hughes Withdraws Petition to Provide Fewer Affordable Units in Kakaako