Gladys Quinto Marrone
GLADYS QUINTO MARRONE is the CEO of BIA-Hawaii, where she also serves as chief administrator and oversees all aspects of membership, signature consumer shows, the Hawai‘i Building Industry Foundation and the Construction Training Center of the Pacific. She graduated from Farrington High School, the University of Southern California and the University of Hawai‘i School of Law.
WHAT MAJOR INDUSTRY TRENDS DO YOU SEE UNFOLDING IN HAWAI‘I AT THIS TIME?
Many of our contractors have been designing and building multigenerational housing, as Hawai‘i leads the nation in multigenerational households at almost 8 percent. This is certainly due to our culture, but it also has a lot to do with affordability and is a symptom of a lack of housing supply. We also lack rental housing, so accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, are a way to help ease that shortage. Mayor Caldwell’s administration passed a law in 2014 that allows qualified homeowners to add a second unit to their property for a rental. The high upfront fees were a barrier, so all DPP-related fees w ere waived for two years. The incentives worked, as we see that the amount of applications has at least doubled since the fees were waived.
Transit-oriented development will provide much-needed housing within the urban core, but we cannot be successful without investing in critical backbone infrastructure. We are hopeful that government has taken steps to increase its investment.
WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO FUTURE ARCHITECTS, BUILDERS OR DESIGNERS?
Understand your client and listen to their needs. Reputation is key, so do quality projects and work with integrity. Our industry is always changing, so it’s also important to keep yourself abreast and educated on what’s new.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE CHANGING HONOLULU SKYLINE? DO MORE CRANES AND TOWERS EQUAL A HEALTHY BUILDING INDUSTRY?
Kaka‘ako is probably where our skyline is changing the most. What’s happening there is a result of over 30 years of investment in infrastructure. That infrastructure, paid for by tax payers, along with current market conditions, are now able to support growth in the area.
High-rise condos are part of a healthy building and housing industry. But to truly have a healthy housing market, we need to be building more housing at all price points. A state report found that Hawai‘i needs over 66,000 new housing units between 2015 and 2025—26,000 of those units on O‘ahu alone. In 2015, 804 permits were issued for single-family homes, but it’s unclear whether they are for new addresses or rebuilds. We are already behind and falling more behind every year.
More housing will allow families to move to something better suited to their needs. When you’re starting out, you’re renting an apartment or maybe still living at home. You get married, and then buy a condo. You have a child, and then another, and then you move into a townhome or single-family home. Many people aren’t able to do this now because there is not enough housing being built. More housing makes homes more affordable.