Obama's isle home might be registered


POSTED: Saturday, January 31, 2009

The boyhood apartment of President Obama in Honolulu is a far cry from the log cabin home of his political idol, Abraham Lincoln.

Nor is it like the home of other presidents, who have generally grown up in houses in small towns.

It could be the first time a president was raised in a rental apartment, presenting both a dilemma and unique opportunity for the Emma Kwock Chun Corp., the company that owns the Punahou Circle Apartments.

“;I think it certainly has significant historic value because I think it's the first time in the nation's history that a president grew up in a high-rise rental apartment,”; said Renton Nip, chairman of the family-owned company.

“;It goes back to his urban background ... and what he was able to achieve even from those modest beginnings.”;

Obama's grandmother Madelyn Dunham, who died at age 86 two days before the election, rented the 1,000-square-foot unit for 41 years, Nip said.

The lease does not end until June, Nip said. Nobody lives at the unit now, but Dunham's belongings remain there. Obama stopped by the apartment for a solitary visit during his Christmas vacation here.

Nip said his family is considering getting the apartment on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Beretania Street apartment complex is quiet, as it has been all these years. Nip said one tour operator makes stops there to show tourists the building, but from across the street.

Nip said the family has not yet determined whether they will lease out the apartment.

“;That's one of the things we have to decide, assuming that the Obamas don't extend the lease,”; he said.