HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Talks are still going well between Hawaii Pacific University and Aloha Tower Marketplace. The school says, if all permits and approvals go through, Aloha Tower's developer could start constructing student dorms and lofts there by next year.
20 year old Lukas Holmberg has seen some of HPU's dorm renderings for ATM..
I asked, "Do you like the idea of dorms based over there?" Holmberg replied, "Oh, I love it, yeah, right next to school, easy access, close to the beaches."
He shares a $1,200-per-month apartment in Nuuanu with a friend and is one of many who thinks the school could use more housing. "We're living all over the place, and we need dorms down here," Holmberg adds.
Earlier this year, with a 70% vacancy rate at Aloha Tower Marketplace, owners and HPU started the ball rolling to convert retail and restaurant space into dorms and lofts for 250 students. We checked, and the conversation is still moving ahead.
"We think it not only holds great promise for our students and for the university, overall, but we think also for downtown Honolulu. We think this could be a real game changer," says Todd Simmons, HPU's Vice-President of Marketing and Communications.
Simmons says, so far, no roadblocks or challenges have surfaced. They're just making sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed when it comes to permits, zoning changes, and approvals. "The hope is, though, that if we're able to move forward with this project, then sometime, in perhaps 2013, 2014 we might be able to be moving forward with student housing." The renovation part, at least.
Student Nicole Preti isn't sure about this type of mix-use."Loud!" she laughed. "I've lived in dorms so I know how loud they get. It definitely would disrupt the quietness, but it could work out."
In July, the state legislature and Governor Neil Abercrombie approved special purpose revenue bonds for HPU. It gives the school up to $120 million in bonding authority to help with priorities, like housing.
Simmons says students could potentially move into the dorms by school year 2014-15.