HONOLULU— The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has approved the purchase of nearly $8 million in property for future housing development.
The deal approved by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Monday could take hundreds of Native Hawaiians off a homestead wait list, KHPR-FM reported Tuesday.
The commission voted to purchase the property in Honolulu’s Moiliili neighborhood from Kamehameha Schools, the state’s largest private landowner.
About $6.9 million of the nearly $8 million property deal will be covered by general obligation bonds with $1.75 million to come from the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Fund.
The properties include a vacant parking lot and two abandoned, low-rise apartment buildings.
A full appraisal must be completed before the acquisition is finalized. The department has about five months left to close the deal under its agreement with Kamehameha Schools.
Hawaiian Home Lands plans to develop a high rise for affordable rentals. The department’s preliminary plans call for the renovation of about 30, one-bedroom units.
The units are initially expected to be offered as affordable rentals. The department may later consider redeveloping the walk-ups into high-rises to accommodate more people on its waiting list of more than 10,000 homestead lot applicants.
Tim Streitz, chairman of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board, said he is relieved to learn the department will make use of the abandoned apartment buildings.
“We’ve heard a lot of issues with it in terms of squatters and other kind of illegal activities occurring on the site. And so it’s a major concern for the residents,” Streitz said. “So it’ll be a good transition for the site that residents will be happy about.”