By David Corrigan and Stephanie Salazar
[Video by David Corrigan]
HILO, Hawaii: It was a day of celebration in Hilo on Tuesday, as the maile lei was untied on the rehabilitated “E Komo Mai Apartments”.
The 45-unit affordable multifamily apartment community on Kinoole Street has just undergone a massive modernization, and a grateful set of tenants have moved back in.
The refurbished apartments are the result of a partnership between “Urban Housing Communities” the Big Island Housing Foundation, Hunt Building Company, the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation, Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation, and the County of Hawaii. For those who have worked on this project, today was a long time coming.
From the Hunt Capital Partners:
A special blessing ceremony was held Tuesday for the E Komo Mai Apartments located in Hilo, Hawai’i. The 45-unit, two-building apartment complex, originally built in 1971, underwent a $3 million rehabilitation and upgrade thanks to a development partnership between Urban Housing Communities (Anaheim, CA) and Big Island Housing Foundation (Hilo, HI). Hunt Capital Partners provided $6 million in Tax Credit equity financing. Additional financing was provided by Hawai’i Housing Finance & Development Corporation (HHFDC) under its Rental Housing Trust Fund program. Construction was completed by Hunt Building Company.
Kahu Gaymond Apaka officiated over the dedication, which was attended by Hunt representatives and the construction team. Local government officials and tenants also attended the blessing.
“This blessing is not only a big day for residents here at the E Komo Mai Apartments, but also for all of us at Hunt,” said Bud Waters, executive vice president of Hunt Building Company. “We’re blessed to have been given the opportunity to transform these residents’ homes into an improved, healthier and safer place to live as we have a strong commitment to improving the quality of life on the Big Island and the state of Hawai’i.”
The E Komo Mai Apartments consists of one- and two-bedroom units restricted to tenants earning at or below 30, 50 and 60 percent of the area median income, including nine units that are further subsidized by a Section 8 rental housing assistance program. Aside from completely upgrading the units with Energy Star appliances and new finishes inside and out, the project’s common areas were enhanced with fresh landscaping and additional amenities that include a new management office and recreation facilities. All of the project’s 45 units have already been completed and turned over to its residents. A rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system, also financed by Hunt Capital Partners, will help reduce common area operating expenses.
|Jan. 10, 2012:
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Meanwhile, another housing project sitting just a few blocks away still needs some help.
Since Big Island Video News began covering Hawaii Island in 2008, the community has been wrestling with what to do with the mostly abandoned neighborhood.
At Tuesday’s “E Komo Mai” celebration, State Senator Gil Kahele vowed to do something about the situation.