HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – It’s been more than a decade since the state transferred 30 acres of land in Kakaako Makai to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to resolve a land grant dispute.
Ever since the OHA has tried to get the state to allow housing construction on its property.
The original valuation of the land was close to $200 million, but that was based on the housing that was built on it. But that has been banned since 2005 after another development dispute, before OHA took over the land now known as Hakuone.
“Hakuone is Hawaiian land, but we are once again asking the legislature for permission to develop our land,” OHA Board President Hulu Lindsey told members of two state Senate committees on Wednesday.
Most of those lots now sit empty, while luxury high-rise condominiums have been built and are going up along Ala Moana’s Mauka Boulevard.
“The fair is fair,” said Mahealani Cypher of the Koolau Foundation Board. “HCDA allowed all these mauka buildings to go up with me, not so many restrictions. And now they’re putting all these restrictions on makai buildings.”
“What protects the makai side is the law,” said Ron Iwami of the Friends of Kevalos group, which year after year opposes attempts to allow housing on the land. They also plan to hold another public meeting on Monday to voice their opposition.
Iwami said he fears the tallest buildings in Kakaako Makai will go up because part of the deal includes buildings up to 400 feet tall.
“Ultimately, if OHA cancels their nine properties, they have the option of building nine towers,” Iwami said.
Meanwhile, OHA is running a series of TV ads to support its development plans, which spokespeople for the opposition, including Friends of Kevalos, say misrepresent them.
The state Senate’s Water, Land and Hawaii Affairs committees have delayed action on a bill that would allow housing development until another hearing scheduled for next Thursday at the state Capitol.
Lindsey urged lawmakers to pass the measure.
“All we demand is justice for Hawaiians. Justice for Hawaiians from their state government. Justice for Hawaiians on our own land.”
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