Hawaiʻi County Council gives go-ahead to negotiate lease for South Kohala affordable housing project

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An affordable housing project that will add 140 family rentals in the Big Island’s South Kohala district took a step forward Nov. 1 with a nod from the Hawaiʻi County Council.

The Council approved Resolution 303, which authorizes Hawaiʻi County Finance Director Deanna Sako to negotiate a 68-year lease with Pacific Housing Assistance Corp./Kamakoa Nui Limited Partnership to develop the Nā Hale Mākoa project in Waikōloa.

“The [Hawaiʻi County] Office of Housing and Community Development is pleased to see Nā Hale Mākoa reach this milestone and eagerly awaits the blessing and turning of the earth to mark the official start of construction of these much-needed affordable housing units,” said County Housing Administrator Susan Kunz.

Nā Hale Mākoa will be located on just more than 10 acres of landed owned by the County at the northern end of the West Hawai’i community, within the existing Kamakoa Nui subdivision. The parcel is bounded by Iwikuamoʻo Drive, Kamakoa Drive and Paniolo Avenue. It is the first phase of Kamakoa Nui.


Construction is anticipated to kick off in the spring of 2024 with a groundbreaking, with Nā Hale Mākoa expected to begin welcoming families in by the summer of 2025.

The affordable housing project will provide rental opportunities for households earning up to 140% of the area median income. Of the 140 units, 109 are reserved for households earning no more than 60% of the area media income, with the remaining units targeting households earning no more than 140%.

The $82.3 million project is funded by the Hula Mae Multi-Family Bond Program, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, Rental Housing Revolving Fund Program, Hawaiʻi County Affordable Housing Production Program and 30 project-based housing vouchers awarded by the Office of Housing and Community Development.


The need for affordable housing on the Big Island is dire.

According to the 2019 Hawaiʻi Housing Planning Study, Hawaiʻi County needed to add 10,796 affordable housing units by 2025 to meet the island’s needs. Since late 2020, the number of affordable housing units in the pipeline has increased from about 1,200 to more than 6,600.

The Office of Housing and Community Development also anticipates the completion of 159 units in 2023 followed by an additional 217 units in 2024.


In 2024, construction is expected to commence on about 650 units that will be completed in 2025 and 2026. That’s in addition to the construction of a loop road that will open development of more than 640 units at Kamakoa Nui in Waikōloa.

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