Mall owner pledges funds for Habitat
General Growth said it will help the group raise $500,000 this year
General Growth Properties Inc., the owner of Ala Moana Center as well as more than 200 malls in 45 states, has pledged to help raise $500,000 in Hawaii this year as part of a three-year-partnership with the nonprofit housing group Habitat for Humanity.
General Growth said yesterday it will supply about $50,000 and 310 hours of labor to Habitat affiliates in Hawaii.
"They are the largest corporate Build-A-Thon sponsor that we've ever had in Hawaii," said Kathi Hasegawa, executive director of Hawaii Habitat for Humanity. Other corporate spon- sors for the event include First Hawaiian Bank, Centex Homes and Kazi Foods Inc.
In addition to Ala Moana Center, General Growth owns Ward Centers and manages Windward Mall on Oahu; Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo; Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului; and Whalers Village in Kaanapali.
In the last quarter of 2006, the company had profits of $70.2 million on revenues of $971.8 million.
Habitat, which has affiliates in Hilo, Kona, Maui, Molokai, Honolulu, Leeward Oahu and Kauai, is dedicated to eliminating poverty housing and homelessness around the world. The nonprofit, which expects to raise more than $300,000 during its June 16 Build-A-Thon, anticipates building 50 homes across the islands this year, Hasegawa said.
More than 96,000 Hawaii families -- or 22 percent of all households -- live in unsatisfactory conditions, Hasegawa said. With average home prices in Hawaii topping $600,000, affordable housing is a challenge in Hawaii, she said.
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates houses in partnership with prospective homeowners. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.
"General Growth Properties is committed to giving back to our community in a meaningful way, and together with Habitat for Humanity we want to make a real difference in Hawaii's housing situation," said Sharon James, regional vice president of marketing for General Growth.
On May 25, General Growth employees will build the frame for a home destined for Leeward Oahu at the Ala Moana Center parking lot. In late May, General Growth malls will display Habitat house frames to encourage customers to donate. Customers also can sign up to participate in Habitat's Build-A-Thon.