KAKAAKO (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the last seven months, an indescript building in Kakaako has stood empty and waiting for occupancy. Within the next several weeks, the sheriff's department is scheduled to move in, but Hawaii News Now was wondering why it took so long. So, we went looking for answers.
Just off Ala Moana boulevard - across from Restaurant Row - sits a 4,400 square foot yellow modular unit. By mid-October, the sheriff's department will be consolidating several of its downtown offices and receiving desk here, plus three holding cells. But deputies have yet to move in - as the department requested change orders to the project.
"We tried to expedite the construction, and it's modular building so that it can be used elsewhere, if needed, but essentially, even though we did it to specs, when you see it, you say, ‘Oh, I would like this to be bigger. I'd like this to be moved to the other side for operational concerns'," says Hawaii Community Development Authority director, Anthony Ching. "So, that's likely the reason the delay or the occupancy has been delayed."
The three million dollar project started more than three years ago, and it's been built since late February. The HCDA says, despite the tweaks, it's still within budget. HCDA says it brokered a deal with the sheriff's department: a no-cost lease at the site in exchange for patrolling the Kakaako corridor.
Ching points to an aerial map of Honolulu and specifically, Kakaako, "(The patrols are) essentially focusing on the parks, the harbor and the harbor users and this park, the Kolowalu park and the Mother Waldron park."
For obvious reasons, park users like the idea of more safety.
"A lot of families come here," says Jean-Yves Kervarrec, an athlete who uses the park regularly. "A lot of kids on the weekend, a lot of teenagers on Saturday and Friday nights - so having extra security, I think it's really a plus for the environment."
Mom Mele DeMille had peace of mind when she heard the news. "With having something regularly patrol this place, I can feel comfortable and safe bringing my kids and letting them just play around."
The sheriff's department will now be first responders along the waterfront and Kewalo basin. Private security guards will continue to lock up facilities in the area.
The modular building is actually considered an interim location. Plans are in the making for a civic-commercial building on a three-acre site nearby that would house a permanent building for the sheriff's and other state departments.
Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
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