Residents Return To Renovated Public Housing Homes

$135 Million Project To Be Completed December 2013

 UPDATED 10:00 PM HST Oct 05, 2011
HONOLULU -

Hundreds of Kalihi residents living in what was formerly known as Kuhio Park Terrace are moving into new apartments this month.

More than $130 million have been pumped into the Towers at Kuhio Park in a joint partnership with a private developer.

Alaina Davis and her son have a newly renovated apartment ready to host the governor.

"Everything has substantially exceeded my expectations and I didn't expect it to look this wonderful," she said.

"You can see they've taken a sense of ownership in these units saying 'this is mine this is ours this is something we need to protect," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Thanks to the first public-private partnership between the Hawaii Public Housing Authority and Michael's Development Company, residents will move into apartments that have new bathrooms, floors, kitchens and windows.

The state sold the buildings last November, but is leasing the land for 65 years.

"What we have here is management maintenance and construction all going hand in hand with the participation of the community," said Abercrombie.

"The trouble in the past with running public housing property is there's just not enough money in the operations to sustain the operations," said Michaels Development Co. Vice President Monika Mordasini.

The $135 million project will be funded by a combination of tax exempt state bonds, private and public loans, and federal dollars. It's giving some residents more hope.

"What I want to see happen is that it's a good community the people take pride and the bad things get a lot better," said resident Deborah Taamu.

The two-year renovation on the 555 units began last May.

Residents will be allowed to move back into their units as workers complete each section of the two main towers.

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