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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 2:21 p.m., Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Unity House buys Marks Estate

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

Unity House, a nonprofit labor welfare organization, today bought the historic Marks Estate in Nu'uanu Valley from the State of Hawai'i for $2.5 million.

At a 10 a.m. auction, Unity House moved from the $1.8 million upset price in rapid bidding against one other potential buyer, identified as Hawaii Holdings.

Unity House was set up in the early 1950s by the late union leader Art Rutledge for Teamsters and hotel workers to provide benefits and services such as child care, disaster assistance and other help to union members outside the traditional wage and benefit plans.

A Unity House spokesman said that the estate might be used for an administrative center and to provide services to retirees, but no final decision had been made. A spokesman said Unity House wants to be a good neighbor in the exclusive residential area.

The state acquired the parcel in 1956 as part of a Pali Highway widening project and has been trying to sell it since 1996, when the asking price was $8.4 million.