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UH Mānoa Closer to Redeveloping Atherton Building for Multi-Use Housing and Innovation Center

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A plan to expand the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus by constructing a mixed-use student housing and innovation center at the intersection of University Avenue and Metcalf Street has moved forward.

The Honolulu City Council Committee on Zoning and Planning heard Thursday Resolution 21-127, which seeks to approve the plan.

The plan calls for the construction of the $58 million Atherton Mixed-Use Student Housing Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, utilizing the existing Charles Atherton Building, formerly owned by the YMCA. It will house research support and incubator space for start-ups and entrepreneurs while also offering housing for up to 375 students.

The proposal details plans for two six-story buildings, totaling 98,682 square feet of floor area with about 220 housing units. It also includes about 45 on-site covered parking spaces and 50 bicycle spaces.

"The Mary Atherton Building and the rear-wing of the Charles Atherton building will be demolished to allow the construction of the new Innovation Center," the plan said. "The existing Charles Atherton building will be repurposed as the Innovation Center and house incubator spaces, classrooms, offices, and retail space."

Keith Kurahashi, the planning consultant for the project, said, "The University of Hawaiʻi is working in partnership with the private sector and government to build a thriving innovation research, education, and training enterprise in Hawaiʻi that will develop a third major economic sector for the state, create high quality living-wage jobs, and address the challenges and opportunities faced by Hawaiʻi and the world."

"The project is envisioned to build a learning environment in support of innovators and entrepreneurs. It will be opened to all UH students, faculty, and the public; and be designed as a 21st-century university gathering place," he said.

The measure passed through the committee with amendments. If approved by the council, the project expects construction to start in the first quarter of 2022, with anticipated completion by the second quarter of 2023.

The University of Hawaii Foundation purchased the property for $8 million about 4 years ago, according to the Associated Press.

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