Luxury condo residents pushed out as hungry pests come out of the - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Luxury condo residents pushed out as hungry pests come out of the woodwork

Robert Tangonan Robert Tangonan
Glen Kaneshige Glen Kaneshige

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Keola Lai residents are being eaten out of house and home. The Kakaako luxury high rise is only two-and-half-years old, but apparently, the termite problem there is so widespread that residents have to move out temporarily - so that fumigators can move in.

Exterminators have tried to ‘spot treat' the 42-floor building – which sits at the corner of Queen and South streets - for months now, but the pervasive pests continue to dine on the wooden cabinets in many of the condo units.

"I wish we didn't have this problem", says resident Robert Tangonan, who has lived at the complex since it opened in 2008. He recalls one conversation he had with a neighbor. "He described that there were termites flying around. There were significant droppings on the floor. And they had to change the cabinets."

Starting on September 12th, Tangonan and hundreds of his fellow condo owners and renters will have to move out of the 353-unit high rise for about a week - as the building-wide termite fumigation begins.

The termites have been feasting on kitchen and bathroom cabinets in many of the condos since mid-2008 - shortly after they were built. After numerous spot treatments failed, the only thing left to do was plan a full-scale fumigation attack. Contractor Nordic PCL says the termites were likely in the materials supplied for the project.

Nordic PCL Executive Vice-President Glen Kaneshige explains, "It's very difficult to detect termites in wood, but again, once we discovered the problem, we responded quickly."

To compensate residents, Nordic PCL is offering them two options. It will foot a sizable bill for a week at a Waikiki hotel, plus meal coupons, parking, and a 500-dollar grocery card. Or they can take a cash pay-out between 33-hundred and four-thousand dollars - depending on the number of people living in the unit.

Residents who take the pay-out must find their own accommodations.

Nordic PCL says it's working with the wood vendor to make sure that this termite problem doesn't happen again somewhere. Meanwhile, the Keola Lai Association Board believes it hammered out a fair deal with Nordic PCL and developer, A&B Kakaako.

Association president Russell Gouveia says, "We put in countless hours. We went through every single line of the proposal just to clarify and enhance wherever we could for the residents."

Robert Tangonan and his wife plan to take the money and stay with relatives. "3500 bucks is nothing to sneeze at", he says. Then, he plans to tell those termites to 'bug off', once and for all.

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