Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, May 16, 2002

OHA considering Kaka'ako site

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is looking into developing an office complex at the historic Ala Moana pump station land in Kaka'ako.

On Tuesday, OHA's Land Committee approved a request for $75,000 to hire a consultant to look into the feasibility of developing the land. The request is expected to go before the full OHA board in the next 30 days.

If it is approved, the consultant will consider various uses for the property, including an office building and complex to house the OHA, said spokesman Ryan Mielke. But the project is still in the preliminary stages, he said, and details are not available.

Any plans to develop the property also must be approved by the Hawai'i Community Development Authority, which oversees development in Kaka'ako.

OHA has been looking for a place to call its own for several years. The agency is leasing office space at 711 Kapi'olani Blvd., and that agreement expires next February, Mielke said. OHA likely will extend its lease agreement, he said.

"A new building — wherever it is — would provide an opportunity not only to better serve the beneficiaries, but to allow OHA a permanent residence," Mielke said.

The pump station sits on five parcels bordered by Ala Moana, Keawe and Ilalo streets, Mielke said. Each parcel has various allowances, he said, including a 200-foot height limit on one.

If the land is developed, OHA likely will lease office space to other agencies, including the University of Hawai'i, Mielke said.

"That could provide a debt service that would allow OHA to be in the building, and the occupants would then assist OHA in essentially paying for the building itself," he said. The estimated cost of the project has not been determined, and no timetable has been set, Mielke said.

The 102-year-old Ala Moana pump station handled the city's wastewater until 1955. In 1978 the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

But the station has deteriorated over the years as several plans to develop the land have fallen through. In 1998 there was a proposal to build a restaurant and Hawaiian music hall on the site, and a year later restaurateur Wolfgang Puck announced plans for a Grand Cafe there.