Biomed complex plans might need delay
Kamehameha Schools says a ban on housing along the Kakaako waterfront would force it to change its plans.
HOUSING for scientists at a biomedical complex planned along the Kakaako waterfront
appears to be encountering collateral damage from legislation aimed at banning residential housing in the area. Kamehameha Schools had an opportunity to seek an exemption from the ban to allow its plans to go forward but did not do so. Those effects should not be a factor in Governor Lingle's decision on whether to veto the bill or let it become law.
The issue about whether to sell state land for construction of two high-rise towers with 625 condominiums as part of a grand plan by the Hawaii Community Development Authority to revitalize the waterfront was loudly contested in the Legislature. In the end, the decision to disallow residential development was nearly unanimous.
While the measure will force the development authority to sharply revise its plans, Kamehameha Schools also will need to change its plans for its Life Sciences Research Complex on the ocean side of Ala Moana between Cooke and Coral streets. Plans for the complex had included up to 200 residential lofts to house scientists.
Consultants for the complex say the lofts are needed to attract companies and scientists, according to Kekoa Paulsen, a spokesman for the schools. With the ban, he says, "We'll be hampered by not being able to provide some workforce housing that was going to be makai of Ala Moana."
Sen. Russell Kokubun, a supporter of the ban, says Kamehameha Schools mentioned its plans early in the legislative session but did no follow-up. He said he assumed the schools had changed its plans.
If the lofts for the scientists are crucial, Kamehameha can delay construction and ask next year's Legislature to allow the plans to go forward. Lingle, who has supported the Kakaako redevelopment, need not let the side issue interfere with her decision, but this new tangle might provide cover for a veto.
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