A troubled hotel and condo project near Ala Moana center encounters another major problem

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Controversial Plan To Build A 400-foot-high condo and hotel project near the Ala Moana center faces a major new hurdle.

In March 2018, Honolulu City Council approved developer Johnson Fang’s Hawaii Ocean Plaza project, provided the builder obtains the necessary building permits within two years.

This deadline was extended by one year, which ended last week without further extension.

“Now they have to get back to the drawing board,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam of HI Good Neighbor, who criticized the development.

“The loss of this overall approval from city council makes it very difficult for them to proceed. “

The Hawaii Ocean Plaza – with plans for 175 hotel rooms and 216 condos – is part of the city’s transit-focused development program that allows developers to build more hotels and apartments.

But as the TOD deal expired, Dos Santos-Tam said the developer had to return to city council to get the zoning gaps he lost.

It could take months – even years – and could cost millions of dollars in delays, he said.

Fang, however, said he is still moving forward. He said he would only focus on building condos due to the impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry.

He said he would also provide loans to Hawaii buyers with no interest for the first 10 years.

Fang, who heads the Hawaii Regional Investment Center and California Regional Investment Center, is also the developer of the nearby Hawaii City Plaza stalled project.

In 2017, he threatened to organize a tourism boycott in Hawaii after permits for his Hawaii City Plaza project were blocked at city council.

He also accused council members of forcing him to hire union workers, which he later agreed to do but apparently withdrew.

In recent months, critics have expressed doubts about the viability of Fang’s project. The developer is also facing enormous financial and legal pressures.

Dozens of Chinese and Japanese nationals who invested in the project sued Fang and his companies for the delays, demanding their reimbursement.

The developer’s owner also sued for over $ 162,000 in overdue office rent.

“This is a situation where the city should take a break and consider whether it can actually be achieved,” Dos Santos-Tam said.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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