Kamamalu Building awaits renovations
The state-owned building located at 250 S. King St., on the Ewa-mauka corner of King and Richards, has been vacant for more than a year since the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and other offices moved out. Since then, what appear to be homeless persons have taken up residence at the King Street entrance. Cardboard, newspapers, food wrappers and other trash litter the sidewalk and curb. One day, pedestrians had to step over a disgusting stream of urine flowing across the sidewalk. Does the state intend to clean up or at least maintain the premises, and what future plans does it have for this building?
Answer: We asked about the state and status of the long-vacated building in early December but then went on vacation.
On Dec. 19 the King Street entrance to the building was boarded up, just as the Richards Street entrance has been, "to prevent problems with homeless people using the areas to sleep or other purposes," said state Comptroller Russ Saito, head of the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS).
A state grounds crew also cleaned up all the cardboard and debris, he said.
The Kamamalu Building was vacated in November 2003. Saito told us back then ("Kokua Line," Dec. 3, 2003) that the former Hawaiian Trust Building, purchased by the state for $2.5 million in 1968, needed to be gutted and rebuilt.
But everything was contingent upon obtaining money for renovations. DAGS has since received funding and design is already under way.
However, "we're finding things that, as we're doing the design, we weren't aware of," Saito said yesterday. In other words, the condition of the building is worse than initially thought.
So, although $14 million has been set aside for the project -- $1.4 million for design and $12.6 million for construction -- it now might not be enough.
"We are reassessing the total expected costs," Saito said.
Before the additional problems surfaced, DAGS knew the work entailed removing or abating hazardous materials such as asbestos, "refurbishing everything in and on the building, then installing tenant improvements."
Depending on what more needs to be done, Saito said the building still could be ready to be occupied by state employees in another three years.
To the Sand Island post office. A friend mailed us a gift with the wrong ZIP code and indecipherable street name. Someone from the Sand Island post office took the time to look us up in the phone book. "Hello, is this the Antone residence?" "Yes." "This is the post office. What is your address?" I told her. "Oh, you are in Kapahulu!" "Yes, why?" "Well, we have a package for you with our ZIP code, but we can't get it to you in time if we put it back in the mail." So, I drove to Sand Island to get it. What a nice surprise! For the gift itself and for the diligence of the postal workers through rain, hail, sleet and ZIP codes. Wonderful hoomalimali when they should have been frazzled. -- Libby O. Antone
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