"Shocked" is how Barden
response, adding, "We haven't had a very strong reaction from the affordable community."
The 21 one-bedroom units are available for about $205,000 - a price within county affordable-housing standards that Barden
volunteered to meet.
expected far more response even though the units are only slightly cheaper than market-priced units that attracted a response he
said was above his
initially wanted to develop Wailuku Village
as a 100 percent affordable project, but that soaring construction costs made that plan financially infeasible.Pricing the 21 units lower, he
said, left the project with too little projected profit for the risk financial backers are taking."There's a lot of risk," Barden
said about 80 prospective buyers sought applications, but only one reservation was made to participate in a lottery to buy the below-market units.
doesn't receive reservations for all below-market units after 90 days, he
plans to make any unreserved units available at market prices to anyone.
Typically, under county rules mandating 20 percent below-market units for housing projects on land rezoned for residential use, unreserved affordable units after 90 days are made available for another 30 days to buyers who meet income guidelines but have previously owned a home.After that, the units can be sold to anyone at the below-market price.
But Wailuku Gardens wasn't required by the county to provide below-market units.Barden
volunteered to offer below-market units, and committed to the initial 90-day sale period to qualified buyers.
For offering below-market units, Barden
received expedited permitting.And for each below-market unit sold, he
will receive credits he
can sell to other developers wanting to satisfy affordable housing requirements.But Barden
main motivation was to help average buyers.
"I consider myself a community developer, and I wanted to give back to the community," he
said."It's actually good for us (financially) if (the affordable units) don't sell."Barden, president of Pacific Island Investments LLC, is primarily a single-family home builder who has developed about 25 homes on the Big Island in the past two years.