Sunday, June 24, 2001

Habitat for Humanity
needs a home

The organization which builds homes for the needy with the sweat equity of beneficiaries needs a new home of its own.

"For several years, Manoa Valley Church has been gracious enough to provide Honolulu Habitat for Humanity a free 300-square-foot office," Executive Director Jose Villa said.

When he came on board just under two years ago, the organization had two full-time staff members and built four to five homes per year.

It now has five full-time staff, has bid on a 45-home subdivision and plans to build 300 homes on Oahu over the next five years. It needs more space.

Villa said, "We were planning on co-locating the office with our warehouse in Kalihi, but just found out the owners are negotiating with the folks next door who want to take it over."

"The office space we need yesterday," Villa said, while they have more time to find a new warehouse location. Villa said it would be preferable to have a 2,000-square-foot office and 10,000-square-foot warehouse in the same spot, anywhere from Kalihi to Waianae.

Space is available, but it's not cheap.

CB Richard Ellis Vice President and manager of the industrial division Stephen Keil said there are two components to commercial leases, base rent and operating expenses, which are priced in square footage.

He said industrial lease rates vary depending on location. In Kalihi rates can range from 85 cents to $1 per square foot. "As you go out (from the town area), the cheapest I know of are in the Campbell Industrial Park area." He estimates the lowest rate there at 55 cents per square foot.

Villa said their budget is $2,500 per month, and that since the nonprofit organization is being run more like a business, he hopes to find a landlord "that will provide us the space on a pay-some-donate-some basis."

It's a tough situation, as Keil said the organization's budget is tantamount to asking for less than half the market rate. He said usually if a landlord needs a write-off, the land would be left vacant, rather than leased at below market value.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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