Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi was among those in attendance during a blessing ceremony at the historic Hocking Building in Chinatown on Oct. 11.
Developers Skyler Pacific LLC, Pacific Development Group (through its affiliate, Hawaii Pacific LLC) and Waialae Partners LLC in partnership with the state’s Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp., the City & County of Honolulu, Hunt Capital Partners and First Hawaiian Bank, are working on the adaptive reuse of the property, which was originally built by businessman Alfred Hocking in 1914 as a hotel.
When complete, the $31 million project will provide 39 affordable rental units — 25 studios, six one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments — for individuals earning up to 30 to 50 percent of the area median income. Financing was secured by the HHFDC in the form of a Rental Housing Revolving Fund loan and both federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. The city provided an Affordable Housing Fund loan, while First Hawaiian Bank also provided financing and Hunt Capital Partners syndicated the housing tax credits.
“This is another huge step towards activating the Downtown-Chinatown area, and by helping to add critically-important affordable housing inventory in our urban core, we are following through on a promise to breathe life back into this community,” Blangiardi said. “These new housing units will not only provide a safe and welcoming place to call home, but also foster a stronger sense of community.”
According to the developers, CDS International is the project architect, with Alan Shintani Inc. serving as general contractor and Mark Development Inc. named property manager.
Among the amenities planned for the renewed Hocking Building are a central courtyard, community meeting room, exercise facility, central tenant storage, bike storage, laundry room and computer lab with high-speed internet access. The project will also include installation of new photovoltaic and solar water-heating systems, with apartment units featuring Energy Star rated appliances, LED lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
By focusing on adaptive reuse, the Hocking Building’s project partners committed to an environmentally sustainable building method in order to reduce waste associated with demolition activities. The historic character of the building — which also includes the facade and connected structure of the former Aseu Building, constructed in 1886 — is protected by its location within the Chinatown Special Design District. Special standards for preserving the historic appearance and character of the neighborhood’s original buildings are designed to help protect them for future generations to enjoy.
Construction of the new Hocking Building is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2024.