Senior housing breaks ground

LIHUE — Will Davis already has plans for the Kaniko‘o Phase II building Friday.

“I want a unit in that building,” said Davis, a resident of Kaniko‘o, Phase I. “I want the third floor so I can see the sunrise in the morning.”

Davis was among the guests attending the groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction for the second phase of Kaniko‘o, an affordable senior housing complex in Lihue.

“This is all so wonderful,” said Mary Rose Gallagher, another resident in Phase I. “This is a wonderful project, and there is a group of really good people who live here. It’s like a big family.”

The groundbreaking comes nearly two years after the Kaniko‘o Phase I was dedicated on March 20, 2014. The Phase II three-story structure will provide an additional 30 units, a mixture of one- and two-bedroom units, to the existing 60-unit complex which occupies both sides of Hoala Street in Lihue.

Kaniko‘o affordable senior housing project offers easy access to transportation and safe connectivity to the nearby park and businesses with pedestrian access and a sidewalks. Adding to the amenities are an on-site laundry facility as well as a community center.

Gary Mackler, the county’s housing development coordinator, congratulated Makani Maeva of Vitus Development on “the wonderful place to live.”

“She called Kanani Fu, the county’s housing director, the queen of housing,” Mackler said. “Makani is the sensei of affordable housing because it takes not only knowledge, but skill to be able to put up affordable housing projects. Makani was one of seven companies putting in proposals for the development, and she was selected.”

Mackler said Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. found out the parcels where Kaniko‘o sits were up for sale and put a team together to follow the $2.3 million sale to fruition.

Coordinated by Vitus Development, the groundbreaking was attended by representatives by key partners in the project including Shioi Construction, Bow Engineering and Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corp.

Officials expect the Kaniko‘o Phase II units to be open for renters about this time next year.

Rental applications will be accepted as the project nears completion. Rent for the units will not exceed 60 percent affordable rent guidelines as established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Info: 726-2888,


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