UH cancer center gets new lease deal
The University of Hawaii and Hawaii Community Development Authority have completed a lease agreement for a new Cancer Research Center site next to the medical school in Kakaako.
In a separate "agreement in principle," the UH agreed to give up the Kewalo Marine Laboratory in five years and work with HCDA on a regional parking strategy for Kakaako tenants and users, said Anthony Ching, HCDA executive director.
Agreement was reached on the lease after many delays and a last-minute rush to save a five-year federal grant to the cancer center of nearly $500,000 that was due to lapse Aug. 31.
Dr. Carl-Wilhelm Vogel, research center director, obtained a grant extension to the end of this month. The Health Resources and Services Administration also agreed to waive a requirement for a matching state grant.
The federal grant was intended for architectural and engineering design work and planning for a new cancer center on a 5.5-acre site Ewa of the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine.
"The best-case scenario is we will be able to draw $316,000," Vogel said.
Gary Ostrander, UH vice chancellor for research and graduate education, said, "We forwarded the final lease to the feds and we've been positioning ourselves to draw down on the $500,000.
"These are complicated issues when dealing with developers, the city and state government. ... It was a long protracted conversation and negotiation."
The HCDA's board declined to sign the agreement Aug. 6 after the UH regents approved it because of some unresolved issues, Ching said. He said he met with UH officials for further discussions; they reached agreement Aug. 13, and he executed the lease agreement Aug. 28.
Two "discussion points" were addressed in the separate agreement, he said.
One was the return to HCDA of the laboratory site at the end of Ahue Street in five years and the other was to develop a parking strategy that would meet needs of the medical school, cancer center and other entities in the area, Ching said.
"The public has been very clear about development of the public area, the waterfront park, and use of that is an objective we cannot ignore," he said. "The time frame would be consistent with the waterfront park to enhance access to the sea."
Ching said he feels regional parking facilities should be available makai of the medical school and cancer center but located conveniently in the area for use day or night.
The university agreed to participate in the process and pay its fair share, Ostrander said.
The medical school is not on ceded land but the cancer research center will be and activities must be for public benefit, Ching said.
Vogel has strongly advocated a clinical component to the research facility to offer new drugs and treatments to patients. This met with some opposition, but a clinical facility is mandated by the National Cancer Institute.
The last projected cost of the center was $200 million in 2004. Up-to-date figures aren't available, Ostrander said.
Townsend Capital LLC, a Maryland firm, was selected in 2006 to design, build and finance the Cancer Research Center, which would pay rent based on the floor plan configuration and other factors.
Ostrander said work is under way on programming, clinical and research plans. "We're working with external consultants to update the business plan from January 2006," he said.
He said UH will be talking to the developer about a public-private partnership in which UH would eventually lease back the facilities.