City signs on to buy Kaneohe complex
The deal is meant to ensure the future of the affordable housing site
The city has signed a letter of intent to buy the land on which a Kaneohe affordable housing complex sits, a step toward keeping it well maintained and affordable, Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced yesterday.
Under the agreement, the city would pay landowner Kamehameha Schools $3.5 million in addition to swapping pieces of city-owned property on Ilalo Street in Kakaako, appraised at $3.4 million, said Cindy Aylett, the mayor's review project manager.
Kulana Nani, a 4.26-acre property at 46-229 Kahuhipa St. in Kaneohe, is worth an estimated $7.5 million, Aylett said.
The city plans to use funds from a special Affordable Housing Fund established in 2006, and the vacant Kakaako property is made up of small remnants acquired during a road-widening project.
The city already owns the 160-unit Kaneohe housing complex with two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, ranging in rent from $536 to $714 a month, according to the news release.
Many residents had feared that if Kulana Nani were sold, the city would be unable to ensure the units remained affordable under a new manager.
"This is really great news," said Dorothea Pale, president of the Residents Association at Kulana Nani, according to the city's news release. "The residents are very happy that they can stay here."
Hannemann said in the news release, "I will only agree to a sale if the residents are allowed to remain and the rents are kept affordable."
The agreement allows the city to lease or sell the housing complex and the land as a package to a private housing operator who must abide by federal guidelines to keep the rent affordable.
The City Council must approve the agreement.
Council Chairwoman Barbara Marshall said she was "delighted" the city could arrange to buy the land, "because that was holding up our ability to commit that parcel to affordable housing in perpetuity."
Aylett said the corporation counsel approved its use.
The city will seek offers by issuing a request for proposals, which should be out by the end of March. The winning bidder will assume all responsibility for the management and maintenance of the housing project, the city said.