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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 3, 2005

City urged to sell rentals

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

A review panel recommends that the city sell its affordable housing properties and one of three Leeward golf courses as part of a plan to improve property management.

Asset Management Review Team, which made the proposals, did not estimate how much revenue the sales could generate. The team of 11 business leaders was empaneled on May 31 to examine all 700 parcels of real estate owned by the city and how the city manages them.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced the recommendations yesterday.

Hannemann said the lack of "a comprehensive and coherent policy or strategy" weakens the city's overall financial situation. He said the team found some policies did not link to the city's core functions and therefore divert resources from other, more essential properties.

"We have not made any final decisions on the team's recommendations but we believe several of them merit further discussion," Hannemann said.

The mayor said he expects to have firm recommendations on the proposals by March when he presents his budget to the council.

He said the city also is reviewing an offer to sell the city-owned Ali'i Place office building, which houses the city prosecutor's office.

The main recommendations revealed yesterday were:

  • Sell 13 city-owned affordable rental housing properties and their associated commercial and parking areas, while ensuring that the properties are kept as affordable rentals.

  • Sell one of the three city golf courses in the Waipahu-'Ewa area (West Loch, 'Ewa Villages and Ted Makalena). Hannemann said West Loch was the most likely to be sold.

  • Redevelop the Kaimuki parking lots to address the parking shortage in that busy community.

  • Establish a public-private partnership to manage the Ho-nolulu Zoo.

    The review team also proposed that the city develop a policy for asset management that consolidates the work under an asset manager.

    Panel member Marc Tilker, president of Marathon Group of Companies, which includes BEI Hawai'i, said the committee noted that housing was singled out because "it's not one of the city core functions."

    Hannemann said he would agree to such a sale if the property were kept affordable and didn't kick out tenants.

    "I don't want anyone displaced," he said.

    The mayor said he thinks it might be a sound idea to sell one of the three city-owned golf courses in the Leeward area because other courses are available nearby.

    Hannemann said the city intends to hire a limited-term consultant to help develop the strategy for managing city assets and deciding which will be sold.

    He said he does not have a solution in mind for the Kaimuki parking situation but knows something must be done.

    And Hannemann repeated his long-term stance that a public-private partnership is needed to take the Honolulu Zoo from where it stands now to "world-class."

    Reach Robbie Dingeman at rdingeman@honoluluadvertiser.com.