Historic home may be demolished

Kiersten Faulkner
Kiersten Faulkner
Ayumi Kumaki
Ayumi Kumaki

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KAIMUKI, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - A historic fight in East Oahu.

A preservation group, hoping to save historic homes and places across the state, is now focusing on a Kaimuki residence.

The Historic Hawaii Foundation doesn't normally stroll around neighborhoods looking for demolition sites.

But when they learned of a 1917 Italian Renaissance home, about to be demolished, they decided to step in and possibly help preserve it.

For nearly a century, the vintage home has been a part of the Kaimuki community.

"It's been in different families, actually the family that started Buck's Bakery was there for many, many years," Hawaii Historic Foundation executive director Kiersten Faulkner said.

The 5,000 square foot house is an example of architecture that's disappearing throughout Hawaii.

"If we start to lose them, then we become very isolated, we lose that sense of place, culture and identity," Faulkner said.

But just recently, it's shown up on the market.

Ayumi Kumaki was one of the interested buyers.

"I wanted it so badly, I was watching this Web site everyday and the price going down, I thought oh, someday," she said.

That day didn't come, at least for her.

She says it would be too costly to re-build or repair the vintage home.

"I'm a contractor and when I think about the feelings, emotionally, all the history, I'd love for it to stay like this and I know it has to change but hopefully somebody who bought this house, does the right thing," Kumaki said.

Two couples eventually bought it. Public records show their intention was not to preserve it.

"The application would be to demolish the house, scrape it down to the bare dirt and replace it with two more houses," Faulkner said.

But Faulkner says there may be a flaw. She claims the city didn't run the demo permit by the State Historic Preservation District to see if it's eligible for historic register.

"Because there is this procedural question of was this permit issued properly, I think they should hold off on this demolition," Faulkner said. "Even if its too late for this one, it's not too late for all of Kaimuki, this could the call to action to people to say, enough is enough."

Calls to the City's Planning and Permitting Department were not returned. But we spoke to the seller's realtor by phone.

She tells us the buyer did everything properly, so the buyer may do whatever they want with the property.

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