HART apologizes for unkempt rail property - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

HART apologizes for unkempt rail property

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

When the elevated rail route comes down the middle of Dillingham Boulevard the area will look very different. Some say it already is. Once a busy shopping center the city bought the property at 1901 Dillingham Boulevard in August 2012. Since then it's began to deteriorate, but Hart does plan to make it better.

The property at 1901 Dillingham Boulevard has graffiti, overgrown weeds, fading signs and a neighbor says the homeless previously broke in to scavenge the place.

"We want our properties to look nice and we're urging people to maintain their properties, well we should start with ourselves," said Ann Kobayashi, Honolulu City Councilmember.

The city paid $2.8 million for the property in August 2012. The previous owner paid just under $1.3 million eight years prior in 2004.

Some council members question why the city center properties were bought so early.

"We're not getting property tax. And these other people have lost their businesses," said Kobayashi.

Councilmember Joey Manahan says he was the last one to rent space here for his campaign headquarters, but says Hart made him move out after the last primary.

"It looks like a condemned building. It's sad because of my history with it," said Joey Manahan, Honolulu City Councilmember.

Rail contractors have marked up with property and are storing some 55 gallon drums in the parking lot. Some citizens say they open the gate and park inside as well.

"If it's not maintained then it does have the potential to get worse," said Manahan.

That's what happened to the Banana Patch properties in Pearl City, which were vandalized and overgrown for years but are now in the process of being demolished.

Hart says it will be responsive to concerns about its rail properties.

"We are working with the Honolulu Police Department to remove any trespassers from the property and we are placing another padlock on the surrounding fence. In addition, we are in the process of hiring a full-time property manager for all of our HART-owned properties, who will work with our safety and security group to keep things like this from happening in the future. We apologize to our neighbors in the area and we will be more diligent with our security efforts," said Henry Miranda, HART's Chief of Safety and Security, in a written statement.

The City has budgeted $202 million to buy 196 properties along the rail route. That includes full and partial properties.

Honolulu's rail line is expected to be completed in 2019. You can see what it'll be like at a new exhibit at the satellite city hall in the Ala Moana Center. It includes an aerial map of the future route, drawings of the rail stations and updates on construction.

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