Maui residents split over plan to scrap proposed hotel for more affordable housing

The developer says there's a high demand for more affordable homes in this area.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:51 PM HST|Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 7:16 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui residents have mixed reactions over a plan to replace a proposed hotel with workforce homes in Wailuku.

“I’m all for it!” said Jimmy C., who works near the proposed location.

“Really not happy about it,” said Cassie Coffin, who also works nearby.

The six-story hotel slated for Wailuku town prompted public backlash years ago.

Now a new developer, Lokahi Global Corporation, is switching gears.

“This is for the local residents in Maui. It’s not for the overseas buyer, it’s not for the investor. Both affordable and market, we are willing to offer to the local residents 100%,” said Lokahi Global Corporation President and CEO Timothy Yi.

The complex would be located on Main Street near Central Avenue, Market Street and Maluhia Drive.

Yi’s plan is to build a 125-unit, multi-family complex.

If the plan is approved, a handful of small businesses would have to relocate.

“People come to Native Intelligence, then they walk through Market Street, and they visit all of our little shops up there. So, this is going to kill a lot of that, our businesses are going to suffer severely,” Coffin said.

The developer said 60% of the units will be affordable, and 40% will be priced at market value.

Yi said to apply, buyers must live in the islands and have at least two recent years of Hawaii State Tax Returns. He said buyers must also live in the unit they purchase.

“We can work with the government sector, bring in more funds. We’re willing to shoot up more, even 100% affordable housing,” Yi said.

Some say the plan is exactly what Maui needs.

“There’s a need for affordable housing, no doubt about it. But specifically, something in Wailuku would be nice because the businesses are here, and it’d be nice if people could walk to work instead of having to drive,” Jimmy C. said.

The development still needs approval from the council.

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