Maui News Article about Proposed Rental Housing Project in Wailuku

Waikapu Community Association will host a presentation about the proposed 324 unit rental housing project development on June 6 at 7 pm at the Waikapu Community Center.

http://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2017/06/workforce-apartment-project-proposed-for-wailuku/

Article by Melissa Tanji, Maui News, June 4, 2017

Two real estate firms are close to submitting an application to the county to build a 324-unit workforce rental apartment project along Waiale Road in Wailuku.

Legacy Partners, a private real estate firm based in California, and Pier Management Hawaii LLC, based on Oahu, will most likely seek to build nine, three-story buildings on the Maalaea side of Kuikahi Drive, and directly across from Longs and Foodland Kehalani, said the project’s consultant, Vince Bagoyo of V. Bagoyo Development Consulting Group.

The 14.4-acre property is on the corner of Kuikahi Drive and Waiale Road.

The project will include a recreation center, swimming pool and three children’s play areas, Bagoyo said. Of the 324 units, 194 will be workforce rentals for families making 80 to 140 percent of Maui’s median income, with a specific number of units dedicated to various income levels. The remaining 130 units will be unrestricted rentals, he said.

Bagoyo said project officials are visiting with different stakeholders before the project is firmed up and a plan is submitted to the county, which will likely be by this fall.

The Waikapu Community Association will receive a project presentation at its next meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Waikapu Community Center.

“This is probably the first major rental project that (is) being planned right now,” Bagoyo said.

He called the lack of affordable rentals and housing a “crisis.”

He said the project’s location is ideal because it’s near services, and there’s a nearby bus stop.

“Hopefully, (it’s) a convenient place for people to live,” he said.

Carol Reimann, director of the county’s Department of Housing and Human Concerns, said the county is looking forward to the project’s development “at a time when there is a strong need for housing.”

“The Central Maui location is ideal in its close proximity to community amenities such as shops, parks, businesses, transportation and more,” she said in a email. “At a time when many are experiencing difficulties in obtaining mortgages, we are especially pleased to see affordable rentals. Affordable rentals will provide families time to save for a down payment as they plan for their future.”

Bagoyo said that when the project is ready, it will be submitted to the county, and owners will likely request the application be processed through the state’s 201H fast-track housing provisions that exempt affordable housing developments from certain land use and other governmental regulations.

The apartments will consist of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Bagoyo said that because of the property’s lower elevation, the three-story buildings will look like two stories and will not block views.

The project’s entrances will be off of Kuikahi Drive and Waiale Road. Bagoyo said the project will be funded privately and will not receive government funds.

According to county property tax records, the parcel is owned by Kehalani Agricultural Investors LLC.

The project applicant, Legacy Partners, owns, develops and manages multifamily communities throughout the nation. Since 1968, Legacy has developed more than 60,000 apartment homes, according to information from Legacy.

It has partnered with Pier Management Hawaii and Linda Schatz to manage the project locally.

Schatz is the wife of U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.

In 2014, the property was part of an offer by Kehalani Village Center’s landowner, RCFC Kehalani, which would have donated the 14-acre parcel to the county, if the county in turn bought a 5-acre, $6.6 million parcel in Kehalani Village Center for the county’s new service center.

Instead, the Maui County Council decided to purchase 4 acres at Alexander & Baldwin’s Maui Business Park II for approximately $7 million. With it, A&B donated 30 acres near Baldwin Beach Park. A new county service center is set to be built at the business park site.

Mayor Alan Arakawa, who received both proposals for a new service center site, liked both offers and said the Kehalani property would be “perfect for affordable housing.”

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.