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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, August 24, 2003

High-rise to cater to seniors

By James Gonser
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

A nonprofit group plans to develop a 26-story, $113 million senior congregate living facility in the Hobron Lane area of Waikiki.

Honolulu Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. hopes to provide apartments and other services for up to 275 seniors when construction is completed in late 2005 or early 2006. The group has filed a draft environmental assessment for the project with the state.

To be called the Kapi'olani Akahi Continuing Care Retirement Community, the development will be on 3 acres of vacant land bounded by Ala Wai Boulevard and Hobron Lane and between the Tropicana and Moani apartments.

Project spokesman Donald Graham Jr. said that the need for more senior living is increasing quickly, along with Hawai'i's aging population, and that the location in Waikiki is convenient for shopping, transportation and visits by relatives.

"We want to put it where the people are who are going to use it," Graham said. "If it is out in Hawai'i Kai, it would be harder for relatives to visit."

Public comment

• To comment on the draft environmental assessment, write to Honolulu Neighborhood Housing Services Inc., 810 N. Vineyard Blvd. Room 4, Honolulu, HI 96817. Include copies for the city Department of Planning and Permitting and the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.

• The deadline for public comment is Sept. 22.

Graham said Kapi'olani Akahi would not be a luxury facility.

"It is a typical, quality project for seniors," he said.

However, those eligible for residency — seniors 62 and older — must put up a refundable deposit of about $500,000 for a lifetime right to live in the apartment. The deposit is 90 percent refundable when they leave the apartment.

Residents also will pay a monthly service fee of about $2,500, which includes one meal a day.

According to the 2000 census, 151,000 people on O'ahu are 60 or older. That figure is expected to increase by 20 percent by 2010.

Kapi'olani Akahi will have 122 independent living units and amenities that include a dining room, an indoor pool, a fitness center, two beauty shops, a library and reading room, a recreation area, gardens and a party room.

The facility also will have a 33-bed skilled nursing facility, an Alzheimer's unit and an assisted living unit. A 2 1/2-story parking structure will provide stalls for 148 vehicles and 10 handicapped spaces.

About 134 employees will tend to healthcare, housekeeping, food services, administration and maintenance services.

Regency Pacific will manage the nursing, assisted living and food-service operations. The company owns and operates nursing facilities on Kaua'i, on the Big Island and in Oregon and Washington state.

Graham said the site has ready access to utilities so there will be no need to dig up the streets to install water and sewer lines.

The developer will have to apply for a conditional-use permit and a Waikiki special-district permit. The nonprofit group purchased the property in January and plans to go before the Waikiki Neighborhood Board to seek community approval.

Reach James Gonser at jgonser@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2431.