Private firms to develop Big Island campuses
The Atlanta team funding the UH construction gains the right to profit from adjacent state land
HILO » The University of Hawaii Board of Regents selected a partnership of two Atlanta companies yesterday to build two community college campuses on the Big Island, mostly at their own cost.
In return, Hawaii Campus Developers LLC will have the right to build for-profit projects on state land adjoining the campuses.
Estimates of the total cost have ranged from $100 million to several times that amount.
In Hilo a new campus for Hawaii Community College will be built on about 150 acres above Komohana Street near the UH-Hilo "University Park" site of several astronomy administration buildings.
In West Hawaii a new Kona Campus Center planned as a branch of Hawaii Community College would be built on about 80 acres of a 500-acre state parcel mauka of Keahole airport.
The campuses are still being planned, so the designs and costs are unknown, said HCC Chancellor Rockne Freitas.
A memorandum from Freitas to the regents calls for some buildings at the Hilo site to be open in 2008, with overall completion in 2010. The Kona campus would open following conclusion of construction in 2009.
Freitas said he would "love to see" both projects meet those estimates, but he emphasized that everything about the projects involves "concepts" and "targets" that may be adjusted.
The idea of a private developer building college facilities in exchange for private development rights is relatively new in Hawaii and across the nation, Freitas said.
Similar projects are under way to build new dorms at UH-Manoa and UH-Hilo, a new cancer research center at Kakaako and a new West Oahu College campus near Kapolei.
Hawaii Campus Developers consists of Regents Partners, headed by Dave Allman, and Aristos Partners, headed by Jack Gafford and John Throckmorton, with both companies based in Atlanta, Freitas said. Financing will be by Farallon Capital of San Francisco.
Hawaii Community College currently sits partly on a 20-acre site on Manono Street in Hilo and partly on the UH-Hilo campus. Many of the Manono Street buildings are aging and in poor condition.
"When I first came here, I was appalled by the facilities," said regent Kitty Lagareta. A room that looked like a shed was being used as a child-care center, she said.
The West Hawaii branch of the college has never had a campus, having occupied a series of rented sites.
The private Hiluhilu Development project on 725 acres next to the Kona Campus Center is being designed to provide a temporary home to the Kona college until a permanent facility is built.
The two campuses now have the equivalent of 1,600 full-time students, although most are part time. At build-out, they will serve the equivalent of 4,000 full-time students.
Although Hawaii Campus Developers will provide most of the project financing, the Legislature provided $18 million, Freitas said.
Not all of the money could be needed, but Freitas said he wants to spend it to speed completion.
The three-phase development process starts with all parties deciding what can be built that will allow the developer to make a profit. The second phase involves creating detailed plans, followed by construction in the third phase.
The plans should include dormitories and faculty housing as well as recreation centers, Freitas said. Community meetings will be held throughout the planning, he said.
The developer is proposing a development management fee of 4 percent, a construction management fee of 6 percent and a property management fee after construction of 4 percent, Freitas said.
In other action, the regents designated 200 acres on the mauka side of the H-1 freeway, 1.5 miles northeast of Kapolei, as a site for West Oahu College.
The college is actually being built on part of a 500-acre tract makai of the H-1, closer to Kapolei, with completion of the first phase due in 2008.
The state also acquired 991 acres of mauka land from Campbell Estate in a deal that requires the state to designate a portion for the college, said West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni. No immediate development is planned there, he said.