New name, look for Kalihi public housing complex

Kuhio Park Terrace now known as The Towers at Kuhio Park

Published  7:36 PM HST Jun 13, 2013
Kuhio Park Terrace getting renovations
HONOLULU -

A time for dancing and celebrating the many cultures that call Hawaii home.

After undergoing a two-year $135 million renovation, it is KPT no more.  The Kalihi housing project is now known as The Towers at Kuhio Park.

A blessing of the first partnership here between the state and private developers in transforming public housing.

It's a partnership between The Michaels Development Company, Vitus Group and the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.

Residents say it was a long time coming.

"Because I lived on the top floor, when it rained my apartment rained," said resident Rochelle Akiona.  "I was lucky if my toilet was working."

These towers were built in 1963.  Clyde Ammons and his family were among the first to live there.

"First, it was 1964.  So many years since they did anything and then Michaels Development came in," said Ammons.  "It's beautiful now."

Each of the 550 units comes with nearly $100,000 in upgrades, new cabinets, appliances and flooring.  The lanai is now enclosed to increase living space.

PHOTOS: The Towers at Kuhio Park blessing
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A blessing ceremony was held Thursday to celebrate the successful completion of its $135 million renovation of The Towers at Kuhio Park, formerly called Kuhio Park Terrace.

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Click here to see photos of the blessing.

Thirty-three apartments were reconfigured for handicap accessibility.  The entrance to the towers received a major facelift.  The iron work replaced a brick facade.  Now the natural light and breezes can get in.

Residents now have larger laundry facilities and their own fitness facility to work out in.

Residents had to move numerous times to allow the renovations, but looking at the smiles, it was worth it.

"We find our most successful communities are when the residents are invested where they feel a sense of ownership," said Ava Goldman of The Michaels Development Company.  "And you can see the residents here do feel a sense of ownership that makes all the difference in the world."

Under the partnership, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority still owns the land, but The Michaels Development Company owns the towers and will manage them through an affiliate.

This is phase one of the contract.  Next up -- renovating the low-rise Kuhio Homes.

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