In response to complaints received by the Maui County Council, action will be taken to clean up the Kahinani Apartments so it no longer poses a risk to the public.
A story published March 19 highlighted the problems of the apartment building on Kamehameha V Highway and Kahinani Place. Sean Ellis, who lives in the Kamilola Heights neighborhood, raised his concerns to Maui County Councilmember Stacy Crivello regarding the neglected state of the building back in November. The affordable housing complex has stood vacant for about 15 years and its condition continues to deteriorate.
Crivello took the complaints to the Maui County Fire Marshall. After sorting out legal issues to determine a responsible party, the proper steps are now being followed to make the property safe. Molokai Fire Inspector Rick Schonely issued a request for service to have the overgrown brush on the property removed so it does not pose a fire hazard.
Last Wednesday, Maui County Building Inspector Anthony Fukuoka walked the property with James Dandar, the court-appointed foreclosure commissioner responsible for oversight in this case. Schonely was off-island and could not participate in the walk-through.
After taking pictures and reviewing Fukuoka’s concerns about the property, Dandar requested a letter from Fukuoka and Schonely detailing the needs of the property. The litigants in the foreclosure procedure, which ended in 2008, have put forward the funds to clean up the property.
“Relatively speaking, the building’s not in bad shape,” said Dandar. The two-story building had about 20 separate living units. On the second floor, it’s mostly broken windows and doors that need attention, said Dandar.
“It’s structurally sound,” said Fukuoka. “It’s not a problem as long as it’s cleaned it shouldn’t be an issue.”
Fukuoka said he will ask Dandar to put up “no trespassing” signs, board the broken windows, cut down the weeds and overgrown vegetation and secure the stairways so people cannot wander into the building.
Dandar said he will prepare a sale by auction for the property this month. A notice for the auction will be published in a newspaper this month, he said, which should lead to a sale by the end of April or early May. Once interested buyers come forward, Dandar said he will schedule an open house by appointment. The property will be sold “as is” said Dandar, with no warranty.
While the sale may happen quickly, getting the property up to code so it can be improved or lived in could take longer, said Fukuoka. “I don’t think anyone will be coming in for a year or more,” he said.
One serious problem is the obsolete and illegal underground sewage system, said Fukuoka. Since the Maui County sewer line does not go out that far, it will take a considerable investment to make it livable. Given the size of the property, installing a septic tank may be an issue, he added.
Parties to the foreclosure proceedings include defendants Hatsuko Otsuka, Hotels in Paradise Inc., Shanghai Investment Co Inc, Simon Bebb, Maui County Department of Finance. As a judicial foreclosure involving the breach of a mortgage agreement, the courts will decide how the revenue from the sale will be distributed. General Electric Capital Corp. and GE Capital Hawaii Inc. were two lenders involved in the foreclosure proceedings.