Kuhio Park Terrace renamed and renovated - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kuhio Park Terrace renamed and renovated

KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Kuhio Park Terrace underwent a $135 million makeover. Renovated and transformed, the public housing project is now called The Towers at Kuhio Park.

"It's like we've been resurrected. The place is just amazing," resident Clyde Ammons said.

It took two years for construction and $97,000 worth of improvements per apartment to take the project out of the dark ages.

"I lived in misery. When it rained my apartment rained," resident Rochelle Akiona said.

All 555 units in the two towers were redone. They now have expanded kitchens, energy efficient appliances and other upgrades.

"I don't have plumbing issues anymore," Akiona said. "I have a brand new toilet, a brand new sink, new floors, new windows, practically new everything."

The new includes new elevators, a bigger laundry room with new washers and driers, and a state-of-the-art workout room.

"I've been here all my life. For us, keeping them clean and keeping them up to how it is now is kind of hard. But with people's help, if they really care, it can last longer," resident Tana Pei said.

The Towers at Kuhio Park is the first public housing renovation that's a public-private partnership. The Michaels Development Company now owns and manages the project.

"There are now 33 units that are set aside specifically for families who have disabled members," company president Ava Goldman said.

Rents will stay the same. Tenants pay an average of $500 a month. They are encouraged to work but it's not a mandate.

"We're just income driven. If you lose your job we adjust the income accordingly until you find another one. But there is no requirement," Hawaii Public Housing Authority Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi said.

About 60 units on the top floors are rented to higher-income earners.

Akiona believes the area will only get better.

"Before people didn't care about the units because it was so out of shape," she said. "They take more pride in their units now."

The developer plans to tear down and rebuild the two-story Kuhio Homes housing next door. That's the next phase now that the towers are done.

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