Home News Maui council a step closer to buying Lahaina apartments in bid to save workforce housing : Maui Now

Maui council a step closer to buying Lahaina apartments in bid to save workforce housing : Maui Now

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Lahaina intersection. PC: Keaulani Seriso

Lahaina Crossroads lessee Etina Hingano and her husband work three jobs to make ends meet.

Hingano breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that her apartment could be purchased by the county and used as workers’ housing.lahaina intersection Tenant faced eviction earlier this year After the property changed owners.

“Amazing,” she told Maui Now on Tuesday. “My reaction is really good because it stays for the people of Lahaina.”

“My other response was, OK, now what? Should I leave and come back? Reapply?” asked Hingano, who has lived in the apartment for seven years.

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The Maui County Legislature voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a budget amendment at the first reading that would allocate up to $11 million of the county’s Affordable Housing Fund for the purchase of the 20-unit Lahaina Crossroads. The bill is now in its second final reading.

Introduced by Council member Tamara Partin, Support from Mayor Michael VictorinoThe bill would keep the building as worker housing in Lahaina, where affordable inventory is the worst on Maui.

After negotiating with the new owners, Partin and Victorino reveal that the owner’s intention is to convert the apartment into a hotel, which is permitted by the district.

When asked by city councilor Yuki Sugimura about whether the owners would make a $4 million profit on the sale, Partin said he would rather see the county than see it turn into another hotel run by an offshore investor. I would like to acquire the property.

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“If this fails, off-island stakeholders will pay more than $11 million and I have no doubt that it will be the hotel. There is no doubt in my mind,” she said. .
“This should tell us all that speculators need to be more aggressive in acquiring these types of properties before they hold on to housing inventory.”

“This is a hard lesson to learn and an expensive one, but we can’t let this continue because we’ve already struggled and it’s getting worse,” she added.

The building was purchased in April for $7 million, according to county property tax records. The previous owner bought it for $4 million in 2016.

Partin said the sale price is not final, cannot exceed $11 million, and requires an asset valuation. She urged the council to move quickly as there are willing sellers and renters living in precarious housing conditions.

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Council members Kelly Takaya-King and Mike Molina noted during the meeting: Maalaea Mauka As an example of what happens when the county limps.

States and counties had set aside funds to buy land and store it in vacant lots, but the owners got tired of waiting and sold it to private developers. now, Congress is considering expropriation of the land.

“We need to focus on getting people to live in affordable housing,” King said of the Lahaina Crossroads proposal. rice field.”

“It was certainly a difficult lesson,” added Molina. “Time is of the essence. No more people need to face homelessness.”

The vote was 7 to 0, with Partin and Council Vice-President Kini Rawlins Fernandez absent and exempt. Partin was unable to vote due to technical problems.

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