State pitches $192M housing, civic center project for Kahului
January 26, 2022, 6:30 AM HST
* Updated January 27, 5:17 AM
About 5 acres of state land in Kahului would be transformed into affordable and market-rate housing, along with a civic center for state office space, if state agencies get the green light on a $192 million project.
Called the “Kahului Civic Center Mixed-Use Complex,” the plan touts “a vibrant community and live-work neighborhood” with about 300 multifamily dwellings of one-, two- and three-bedroom units and approximately 414 parking spaces on a roughly 4.7-acre parcel at the intersection of West Kaʻahumanu Avenue and Kane Street. Also, a 66,000-square-foot civic center with approximately 182 parking spaces would be built.
More than half of the housing units would be affordable and go toward households earning 140% or below the Area Median Income as defined by federal and state rules.
If all goes according to plan, a developer would be selected next year and permitting would be obtained through 2024. Construction could happen between 2024-26, and occupancy may start before 2026, according to a draft environmental assessment published Sunday in the state Office of Planning and Sustainable Development, Environmental Review Program’s “The Environmental Notice.”
Currently, the mostly vacant state land holds the state Department of Education McKinley Community School for Adults Maui campus building and a DOE maintenance/operations building, which date back to 1920.
Plans for the state civic center date back decades, and the land was set aside in 2019 to develop the project and the new Central Maui Transit Hub. Currently, the hub is being built by the county and the state on the southeast part of the land near Vevau Street, and it’s not within the proposed project’s scope.
The report said that the project would build much-needed affordable housing and save the state money by creating office space so nearby state agencies can move out of leased spaces.
“The mixed-use development will create a vibrant community and live-work neighborhood that creates short- and long-term employment opportunities for Maui residents,” the report said. “Incidentally, the project will also support a 2020 state mandate to reduce General Fund spending for lease rent expenses.”
The civic center would also hold classroom and support space for the McKinley Community School for Adults Maui campus and space for a new Kahului Public Library.
About 5,000 square feet of community-oriented commercial space may be included in the multifamily housing buildings or the civic center. Also, the project will include new landscaping, site improvements and off-site vehicular and pedestrian facilities and improvements.
The project is a collaboration among the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, Hawaiʻi Housing Finance & Development Corporation and the state Department of Accounting and General Services.
While it will require many permits and approvals, the project triggers an environmental review due to its proposed use of state lands and funds, along with county land.
The publication starts a 30-day public comment period. After it concludes, comments received will be considered for the final environmental assessment. To view the Kahului Civic Center Mixed-Use Complex report, visit “The Environmental Notice.”