Hilo Hattie debate headed to Governor Ige

Hilo Hattie debate headed to Governor Ige

Honolulu city council chairman Ernie Martin is clear he and other members of the council are not happy.

"I think the council's perspective given the Mayor has thrown in the towel we will be working directly with the Governor to seek his leadership as to whether he'd be willing to get involved," said Martin.

On Tuesday the Caldwell administration announced its decision not to bid on the Hilo Hattie property.  In May a pair of city council members floated the idea of making the retail space on Nimitz Highway a transitional housing facility with support services on site.

"Funding for such an expensive operating site is currently not in the budget," said managing director Roy Amemiya.

"I find it amusing that the managing director would point towards those financial circumstances as the reason not to do it," said Martin. 
Martin says the mayor should apply the same prudence to the rail project.

"I hope he's prepared to come forward to the city council when we consider the general excise tax extension surcharge to apply similar rational on a $900 million deficit the city will end up subsidizing," said Martin.

Martin believes Governor Ige may be willing to consider Hilo Hattie because he is looking for parcels to relocate the Kakaako homeless. Martin and the Mayor are both members of the Governor's newly appointed task force on homeless where they could go head to head once again and this issue

Here is a statement from Director of the Office of Strategic Development Sandy Pfund:

"The city completed application and was qualified to be a potential bidder for the Hilo Hattie property and were poised to bid pending review of bankruptcy proceeding documents.  Upon a full due diligence analysis of the proposal to purchase the Hilo Hattie property, the city found that the high lease rent made the project cost prohibitive and a bad investment for taxpayers.  There are better valued properties available on the market, and service providers were opposed to the idea of housing 800 homeless in a single project.  The Managing Director together with the Office of Strategic Development offered to brief Chair Martin on the financials last week but did not hear back, so we were not able to brief the chair on the documents or financial analysis."

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