State puts off land offer from Kawamoto
The Japanese billionaire has offered to give 50 acres and $5 million for a school on Maui
The state isn't ready to make a decision anytime soon on whether it will use private land for its proposed high school in Kihei, despite an offer of a site and $5 million in cash from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto.
The 50-acre site, known as Kawamoto Piilani, is just one of seven parcels identified by the state Department of Education for the proposed Kihei High School.
Kawamoto, who recently made headlines by announcing he was offering a handful of his Kahala homes for rent to native Hawaiians, is attaching some conditions that school officials say they can't fulfill by themselves.
Kawamoto has requested that the remaining 95 acres or so he owns on Maui be converted to residential, and that the infrastructure built for the school also be sufficient for future homes he wants to build.
Kawamoto is the only private landowner to come forward with such an offer, according to Randy Moore, acting assistant superintendent of the DOE.
He said the department is in discussions with landowners of the other sites.
The state is seeking about 50 acres for the high school, with at least two vehicle access points near an existing residential neighborhood and infrastructure.
The other six sites under consideration are Piilani Park, Piilani Mauka, Kihei Research and Technology Park, Piilani Makai, Kaonoulu Ranch Mauka and Ohukai Mauka.
Aside from Piilani Park, which is owned by Maui county, and the Kaonoulu Ranch Mauka, owned by Kaonoulu Ranch, the remaining sites are owned by Haleakala Ranch.
"We're actually beginning the discussions with the landowners now, and the community will be brought in as well," said Moore. "What you want is the best site, and you need the input of county planners, the community and the landowners."
However, said Moore, the DOE has no power to grant land use zone changes, which is handled by the county and the state Land Use Commission.
"Developing infrastructure is also not under the DOE's control," said Moore. "Certainly one of the considerations of the appropriateness of the site, is whether there is infrastructure for it, and if not, what does it cost, and who's willing to share the cost."
The state, which hired Maui firm Munekiyo & Hiraga Inc. to conduct the site selection study, expects to select one by June.
Kawamoto said in his letter: "I strongly hope that my offer will be accepted."
He originally purchased the 146 acres in Kihei back in 1989, but blames state and county bureaucracy for blocking his earlier attempts to build affordable housing there.
Everett Dowling, president of the Dowling Co., used a public-private partnership to develop Kamalii Elementary School in Kihei about 10 years ago. Dowling said he would consider a similar model to develop Kihei High School.
His company would pay for construction of the school, then lease it to the state for 30 years, at the end of which it could buy the property for $1, he said.
|Kihei Research & Technology Park
|Kaonoulu Ranch Mauka