- The Howard Hughes Corp. has broken ground on its 42-story 'A'ali'i Honolulu mixed-use condominium tower, part of the company's beachfront Ward Village development. This will be the fifth residential tower for Hughes at the 60-acre Ward Village.
- The company said the 751 micro-units will feature "space maximizing" studio, one- and two-bedroom floorplans, ranging from about 300 square feet to almost 900 square feet, plus 150 workforce-priced units per an agreement with the Hawaii Community Development Authority. The building, designed by architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz Ferraro Choi & Associates, will offer up to 11,300 square feet of street-level retail and almost an acre of recreational space, including a penthouse-level amenity deck with a rooftop fitness club, outdoor yoga, lounge and event areas. The building will also have a pool deck with event space.
- This will be the fifth Ward Village residential building for Hughes, and, according to the company, at least two-thirds of the units have been sold. At full build-out, the 60-acre Ward Village community will offer 1 million square feet of retail, food and beverage space and more than 4,500 units. The 'A'ali'i is scheduled for completion in late 2020 or early 2021.
Micro-condominiums not only allow developers to build more units within an existing footprint, but they also make buying a home in a pricey area like Honolulu a bit more affordable. This has been a particularly successful strategy with the millennial demographic, which real estate market researchers maintain prefer spending their time exploring local neighborhoods and socializing in common amenity spaces rather than enjoying a spacious living unit.
Downtown Miami and Miami Beach, also prohibitively expensive for many renters and buyers, has several of these projects underway, according to the Miami Herald. These units attract young professionals, who, developer Moishe Mana told the Herald, are necessary to create vibrant "hubs for industries and technology."
Micro-unit projects also pay off for developers — at least in Miami — with construction costs about 20% lower than traditional buildings. It helps that local building codes and zoning regulations promote maximized land use by allowing high-density developments with fewer required parking spaces. In December, the city approved a code change that reduced the mandatory minimum size of micro-units in transit-oriented development areas from 400 square feet to 275 square feet and reduces or eliminates expensive, space-consuming parking requirements.