Builder’s pullout delays China-U.S. Center again
The company chosen to build the planned UH-Hilo facility says it has too many projects
HILO » The much-delayed China-U.S. Center planned for the University of Hawaii-Hilo has been delayed again, this time by the main construction company pulling out of the project, said UHH official Gerald DeMello.
The center was expected to have several phases, including about 770 dormitory beds in a first phase, followed by a shopping arcade, a small hotel and a Chinese-studies center.
Conceived in the mid-1990s, ground was supposed to be broken in 2003. Last summer, DeMello said he hoped construction would begin in October.
But in December the construction company lined up to do the job said it had too much work already and that adding another project would put it past its bonding limit.
Financing for the project was also unsettled in the middle of last year. The developer, Taiwan-based GEO International Explorer, is now seeking a new source of financing, DeMello said.
The university Board of Regents discussed the project this week in a closed-door executive session with university attorney Walter Kirimitsu, DeMello said.
The regents also received reports on two similar projects in which private developers would build facilities for the university using their own financing.
Regents made no statements following the closed-door meeting, and DeMello said he has not spoken with them. However, he said he believes firm commitments of financing and construction commencement by March could be critical.