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Kulamalu Affordable-Rental Project Breaks Ground

December 11, 2015, 1:48 PM HST · Updated December 11, 8:53 PM
Debra Lordan · 12 Comments
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(From left) County Managing Director Keith Regan, Councilmember Mike Victorino, Real Estate Developer Everett Dowling, Mayor Alan Arakawa, Housing & Human Concerns Director Carol Reimann and Councilmember Robert Carroll, chair of the Land Use Committee at the Kulamalu affordable rental groundbreaking, Dec. 10, 2015. Debra Lordan photo.

Kulamalu project illustration provided by Clifford Planning & Architecture.

Kulamalu project illustration provided by Clifford Planning & Architecture.

The groundbreaking and blessing ceremony for the 64-unit Kulamalu affordable-rental project in Pukalani was held on Thursday, Dec. 10.

The event was attended by Mayor Alan Arakawa, Maui County Department of Management staff and county officials, Real Estate Developer Everett Dowling of Kulamalu LLC, representatives from SSFM International, Clifford Planning and Architecture, Central Construction and others.

“This will be one of the few affordable housing projects that we’re working on that are workforce housing,” said Mayor Arakawa. “And everybody living in these units will have one of the grandest views you can possibly ask for. Spectacular.”

The mayor went on to thank all involved in developing the project, singling out Dowling for his land contribution.

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“It was because of Everett Dowling that we were able to get this property,” said the mayor.

The county bought three Kulamalu lots in June 2011 at a cost of $3,850,000 from Dowling and Contractor Steve Goodfellow.

“At the time of the sale, the property was appraised at $5,212,375,” Dowling commented after the ceremony. “However, Steve Goodfellow and I believed it was sensible to discount the property and provide water, at no charge, to the county in order to enable the affordable rental units to be built. Both Steve and I are pleased that the county will be creating affordable housing within Kulamalu.”

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Councilmember Mike Victorino thanked Councilmember Robert Carroll, chair of the Land Use Committee, for moving the project through expeditiously.

“This is a heck of a Christmas present for the people of Maui County!” Victorino added. “Affordable rentals for Upcountry Maui County have been long overdue. This could be the model to spur other developments and other rentals throughout the county. Let’s move it along as swiftly as possible.”

Victorino concluded with his mahalo to Dowling for the generous land deal.

“Now we can look to other developers and say, ‘Everett did this, why can’t you?'” said Victorino. “The bottom line is, it’s a collaboration.”

The $13.4 million project is being funded through a combination of the Maui County Affordable Housing Fund and a HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HUD) grant provided through Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

The project will include a total of six two-story residential buildings and a multipurpose, community center building on four acres east of the Kulamalu Shopping Center.

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    The project will provide 16 one-bedroom, one-bath and 40 two-bedroom, one-bath units for a total of 56 units. The project calls for the construction of units ranging in size from 592 and 812 square feet, with many of the units featuring a private lānai.

    The multipurpose building will include laundry facilities, an office and meeting space, according to project documents.

    According to Maui County Housing Administrator Buddy Almeida, eligible incomes for the Kulamalu Affordable Housing Project range between 50% and 120% of the average median income for the county.

    Currently, for one-person the income range for eligibility would be between $26,290 and $63,080 per year. For a four-person family, the range would be between $37,550 and $90,120.

    Maximum allowable rents will depend on the income level and the size of the unit.

    Both the income levels and the allowable rents can be found on the County of Maui website on page 9 of the 2015 Guidelines and in the graphs below.

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    Click to enlarge: Affordable income limits/rent guidelines prepared by the HOUSING DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND HUMAN CONCERNS, COUNTY OF MAUI.

    Prepared by the County of Maui Department of Housing and Human Concerns, Housing Division, Affordable Sales Price Guidelines are published annually based on the following factors:

    • Median family income as established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
    • Number of years for a fixed-rate mortgage loan with no discount points
    • Percentage of gross monthly income for housing expenses (principle and interest payment only)
    • Percentage of the purchase price for down payment.

    HUD’s median family income for the County of Maui and the US Census Bureau’s median family income per location are used in calculations.

    The actual rents may be less than those shown, but cannot be more. The final rent determination will be made in consultation with the project management firm that will be hired for this project as the time draws closer.

    “We anticipate identifying a rental project manager in the early summer of next year through an RFP process,” said Almeida. “The selected management firm will develop an application and tenant selection process for the project. At this moment, I can’t tell you what that may look like, but I would expect it to be through a lottery from the pool of applicants.”

    Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2016 and is projected to be completed by early to mid-2016.

    The prime consultant for the project is Clifford Planning and Architecture LLC. General contractor services will be provided by Central Construction Inc. The construction manager is SSFM International Inc.

    The Kulamalu affordable housing project was proposed in response to the growing demand for affordable multi-family housing as outlined by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

    According to the department’s population and economic predictions issued in 2009, and outlined in the Final EA document, there will be a projected unmet housing demand of 10,845 units on Maui by 2035.

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    The Maui County Department of Housing and Human Concerns received approval last year on its Final Environmental Assessment for the Pukalani project.

    The property is bounded by ʻŌhiʻa Kū Street and ʻAʻapueo Parkway, makai of Kula Highway. It is also bounded to the west by the University of Hawaiʻi’s Institute for Astronomy Maikalani Advanced Technology Research Center.

    The proposed project site consists of an open, undeveloped area that was subject to previous extensive grading for the Kulamalu Project in 1997, according to the Final EA document.

    Findings from the Archaeological Reconnaissance Survey conducted in 1996 included a single petroglyph site found near the project boundary. The FEA states that the petroglyph site was handled according to the State of Hawaiʻi Historic Preservation Division’s recommendations.

    The document states that during the process of mass grading for the Kulamalu Commercial Subdivision, no archaeological or historical remains were found.

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    Kulamalu affordable rental site, Dec. 10, 2015. Debra Lordan photo.

    Kulamalu affordable rental site, Dec. 10, 2015. Debra Lordan photo.

    Kulamalu affordable rental site, Dec. 10, 2015. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Kulamalu affordable rental site, Dec. 10, 2015. Debra Lordan photo.

    Kulamalu affordable rental groundbreaking, Dec. 10, 2015. Debra Lordan photo.

    Kulamalu affordable rental groundbreaking, Dec. 10, 2015. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Rev. Sandy Baz performed the blessing at the Kulamalu affordable rental groundbreaking, Dec. 10, 2015. Debra Lordan photo.

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    The event was attended by Mayor Alan Arakawa, Maui County officials, Real Estate Developer Everett Dowling, members of Clifford Planning and Architecture, Central Construction and SSFM International and others. Debra Lordan photo.

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    The event was attended by Mayor Alan Arakawa, Maui County officials, Real Estate Developer Everett Dowling, members of Clifford Planning and Architecture, Central Construction and SSFM International and others. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Groundbreaking and blessing ceremony of the Kulamalu affordable rental project, Dec. 10, 2015. Debra Lordan photo.

    Aerial view of Kulamalu affordable rental site. Photo provided by Carol Reimann

    Aerial view of Kulamalu affordable rental site. The affordable rental complex will be built in the green area seen here above the brown area adjacent to Longs Drugs. Photo provided by Carol Reimann.

    Debra Lordan
    Debra Lordan has been a writer and website editor for Maui Now since December 2014.

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