The state and a private developer re-dedicated a 46-year old apartment building in Waipahu today.
A traditional Hawaiian prayer, blessing and untying of a maile lei celebrated the renovation of the Waipahu Tower on Pupumomi Street. The Ahe Group purchased the 8-story building and committed to maintain most of the units as affordable for 61 years. The rehabilitation cost 6.5 million dollars and includes the installation of photovoltaic panels over the parking structure. Makani Maewa is the group’s president and CEO.
“A 148 kilowatt system. This will save over a hundred-thousand dollars a year. So, it’s a net energy metering agreement so it will be a direct deduction from our operating expenses.”
The Waipahu Tower is in the heart of Town, situated between the future Westloch and Waipahu Rail Transit Stations. State Representative Henry Aquino says the new apartments will help many families.
“There’s always concerns with the transit project coming through Farrington Highway. You know, about a hundred-eighty to two hundred residents live here and I think this is really a nice first step in keeping affordable homes here in Waipahu.”
The Hawai’i Housing Finance and Development Corporation provided tax credits to finance the improvements. Sixty-four-year-old Thomas Ventura has lived in the tower since 2004. He points out how the living room area for each unit was expanded by at least 10 square feet by enclosing the lanai.
“This is where the lanai was, from here to here. This was our lanai here. So this is how small the living area was from here, that way.”
The kitchens and bathrooms were completely redone. Ventura points to the ceiling fans in every room.
“For my two bedroom for me and my wife is 568 and that includes everything, the water, electric and this is what you got for 568. Where can you go out and find something like this for that kind of price.”
Governor David Ige says the public-private partnership saved taxpayer dollars and preserved a 46 year-old building for those who need affordable rentals.
“You know, these people are on fixed income and this allows us to ensure that they will be able to stay in this property for 61 years. But, more importantly, it reinvests in older communities so it is an example of what we can do all along the transit line to make sure that we connect the dots. We want to build communities along the transit route.”
The cost of purchasing the Waipahu Tower property and renovation totaled 17.7 million dollars. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.