City and County of Honolulu announces redevelopment to begin for Varona Village
News Release from C&C of Honolulu, Aug 22, 2023
‘EWA BEACH - The City and County of Honolulu (the City) is excited to announce the redevelopment of Varona Village in ‘Ewa Beach. The City will be turning over the land to the City’s selected developer, a partnership between local developer Peter Savio and Hawai‘i Habitat for Humanity, to redevelop the historic village on O‘ahu’s ‘Ewa Plain, and to offer the homes and lots for purchase by the tenants of record (the original plantation workers, or “TORs”) and current Varona Village residents.
“This is about fulfilling a commitment over thirty years in the making,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “Many of these tenants and their families, with connections to ‘Ewa Plantation, poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this unique plantation-style community and we are proud to be able to finally make homeownership a reality for so many. This is a truly special place deserving of preservation and proper care.”
The City and County of Honolulu acquired ‘Ewa Villages in 1990. Redevelopment efforts for ‘Ewa Villages were nearly complete except for Varona Village when the City Department of Housing and Community Development dissolved in 1998. Efforts to rekindle the redevelopment efforts began in 2013 when the Honolulu City Council convened a Varona Village Working Group, and its recommendations culminated into a 2017 solicitation seeking a redevelopment partner. The Savio/Habitat proposal was selected through a competitive process, and the City and the developer agreed to the development agreement in late 2020. Now, all required conditions to be completed before closing have been completed and the land is ready to be turned over to the developer.
Redevelopment will take place in two phases: Phase I will be to repair and renovate approximately 35-40 existing homes, and Phase II includes new construction for up to 88 new homes and a community center.
The developer has already engaged with the community on the redevelopment efforts, which includes financial counseling to put tenants in a position to finance (a) the repairs and renovations to their homes; and (b) the acquisition of their home, which will be at a far below market rate. If TORs cannot or do not want to purchase their home, they will continue to be able to rent at their current rent, which is far below-market rent.
SA: Redevelopment to begin on Varona Village