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State acquires land under Lahaina’s Front Street Apartments

By Staff | Oct 18, 2019

LAHAINA – Gov. David Ige announced Oct. 3 that the state has completed its transaction to acquire the land under Front Street Apartments on Maui. The move brings the state a step closer to keeping the Front Street Apartments affordable for some 250 tenants.

The state purchased the land from 3900 LLC to help preserve the rents at the 142-unit apartment building and prevent the rents from surging to market prices.

A new law approved by the legislature and signed by Ige in June authorized the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) to acquire the land from 3900 LLC and initiate negotiations with the owners of Front Street Apartments to keep the property affordable for the tenants.

The HHFDC board approved $15 million from the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund for the acquisition of the land at the May 9, 2019 board meeting.

The $15 million figure was based on a $14,930,000 appraisal of the fair market value of the land under Front Street Apartments.

“This acquisition brings us closer to protecting tenants from significant rent increases that could displace them. We are working toward more affordable housing for not only Maui residents, but for our families across the state,” said Gov. Ige.

“I appreciate that progress is being made toward maintaining Front Street Apartment residents in their affordable rental units. I thank Governor David Ige and the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. for their dedicated, collaborative effort with Maui County to keep affordable rentals affordable for our people,” said Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino.

In other HHFDC news, the state Office of Environmental Quality Control’s Sept. 23 issue of The Environmental Notice announces that no Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is required for the proposed Keawe Street Apartments project.

The project is the first phase of the Villages of Leiali’i mixed-use, master planned community located on approximately 1,033 acres of land owned by HHFDC and the State of Hawaii in Lahaina.

The proposed rental housing project will be developed by Ikaika Ohana on approximately 28.5 acres of land leased from HHFDC.

Approximately 200 two-, three- and four-bedroom apartment units will be built for rent to households earning 60 percent and below the area median income.

The Keawe Street Apartments will be accessed via a new public road off of Keawe Street.

Related improvements include common area amenities, parking, landscaping, onsite and offsite drainage, and water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

The 2019 Hawaii State Legislature appropriated $37 million out of the state’s Rental Housing Revolving Fund to expedite and complete the construction of this project.

According to the state, the proposed Keawe Street Apartments project and related improvements have been assessed in the Final EIS for the Village of Leiali’i, which was accepted by the governor in December 2012.