Downtown Honolulu Could be Vibrant W/ My Insight and this linked author’s observation: Catherine Toth Fox: Downtown Honolulu Used To Be So Vibrant. What Happened? – Honolulu Civil Beat

I don’t understand real estate well enough to know why there is no interest in affordable or reasonably priced housing. No, I don’t mean low-income, which is often code for “housing for unwanted minorities.” I am talking about housing for people who are not millionaires or don’t earn six figures. As it stands, to buy any property anywhere, you’re nowhere without a million to spend. That’s for something modest. So what happens? Places stand empty. Apartments that could be rented to middle class people are vacant. I guess it’s more profitable to keep places empty until the millionaires and billionaires come along. Has anyone ever done the math to find out if this evident assumption is true.

If you’re ever downtown in Honolulu and see the smaller shops, look up to the second and third floors of these buildings. There are living spaces carved out of every available inch and I visited people who used to live there, often retired veterans. Now, second floor Chinatown is a ghost town even if the street level shop downstairs is bustling. Add that emptiness to the obvious availability of once stable businesses. If units were made available that didn’t require people to spend 75% of their net pay on housing, disposable income would flow. Open the city to the non-rich and we would get the energy of dollars changing hands many times over.

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