Nearly 25 years ago, the county approved the Princeville Development Corporation’s plans to expand the Princeville Center if and only if the project also included nearby affordable housing for employees of the Princeville and North Shore area. Movement on these plans is finally moving forward with the Vitus Group, an affordable housing development company, based out of Seattle.
Originally, requirements for the affordable housing plan included 75 units; however, the number of units required was reduced by the Planning Commission last year. The new plans for the development call for 44 one, two-and-three- bedroom rental apartments ranging in size from 745 to 1,128 square feet on approximately 3.5 acres of vacant land on the makai side (ocean side) of Kuhio Highway, north of Princeville Center.
Kolopua, the name of the housing project, will be rented to households earning less than 60 percent of the island’s median income, or less than $38,600, according to the U.S. Census Bureau data. The rental costs for each unit will be equal to approximately 30 percent of the renter’s monthly income and will vary depending on the number of tenants living in each unit and the size of the unit. Housing priority will be given to employees who work within Princeville. The remaining units will be available to employees who work within the county’s Hanalei tax zone from Kilauea to Haena. If units still remain, the rest will be available to those who work within the Kawaihau tax zone from Waipouli to Moloaa.
The Vitus Group says if everything goes as planned and the financing is secured, the project could possibly break ground as early as the first quarter of 2014.