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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Two Kalaniana'ole homes go up for auction

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Bureau

The state is poised to auction two properties along Kalaniana'ole Highway that it purchased nearly a decade ago to widen the road from four lanes to six.

After all these years, residents had begun to wonder what, if anything, would be done with the two homes in the 5000 block of Kalaniana'ole, around Paiko Drive.

Marilyn Kali, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, said the state didn't get the titles to these two properties right away, which delayed the auction.

"There was a lot of difficulty getting the title to the property," she said.

The state purchased 12 properties to make way for additional lanes when it widened the highway through Niu Valley to 'Aina Haina, according Kali.

The state does not intend to sell the other parcels, Kali said. Those will remain undeveloped and owned by the state, she said.

The state completed its $86 million Kalaniana'ole widening project in 1995 after 4 1/2 years of work.

The houses will go up for sale in the midst of follow-up construction — a two-year project to replace water mains and gas lines from 'Ainakoa Avenue to West Hind Drive.

The city isn't likely to get its money back on the two properties, which are about 5,000 square feet each and will be sold as is. Kali declined to say how much the lots and homes were appraised for.

"The houses aren't livable as is," Kali said. "Someone would have to tear the houses down and rebuild."

The state paid $690,000 for one property and $647,000 for the other, but they're probably worth a lot less today, said Stephany Sofos, a real estate consultant.

"The state will lose money," she said.

Nearly 10 years after the state launched its ambitious plan to widen the highway, property values have still not bounced back here, Sofos said.

Beachfront property along Kalaniana'ole sells for about $150-$200 per square foot today compared with $300-$400 per square foot in 1991.

Nonbeachfront property on Kalanai'anaole Highway that sold for $75-$150 per square foot in 1991 probably sells for $30-$60 a square foot today, Sofos said,

"Depending on lot size and positioning, and for nonwaterfront, on Kalaniana'ole Highway, lots of congestion and no view, that's the range I'd give it," Sofos said.

The state already has completed an environmental review and the appraisal necessary to auction off the property.

However, the DOT must obtain approval from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources land board before it can begin sale procedures, Kali said.

The state will seek permission from the land board next month, she said.

Michael Melcher, who lives near the vacant homes, said he'd like to put a bid on one so that he could have better access to his property.

The state property is kind of overgrown, he said, but it does block some of the sound and headlights from blaring into his home.

"It's not really been a big deal," Melcher said of the vacant homes. "We might get more pests, like mice and cats."

Edward Schell, who lives along Kalaniana'ole Highway, predicted that the properties will be snapped up.

"People will bid on them," Schell said. "They're fenced already."