The city will not purchase the Hilo Hattie property on Nimitz Highway that had been considered as the site for a “one-stop homeless shelter” for up to 800 people.

Roy Amemiya, the city’s managing director, announced Tuesday that the city did not submit a bid on the property by Monday’s deadline, saying the cost would have been “prohibitive.”

Honolulu Managing Director Roy Amemiya gives press conference about failed bid on the Hilo Hattie property. 28 july 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Honolulu Managing Director Roy Amemiya announces that the city won’t bid on the Hilo Hattie property on Nimitz Highway.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

To acquire “the leasehold interest” in the 85,000-square-foot property, which is under bankruptcy proceedings, the city would have had to pay about $7.6 million initially and then absorb $1.8 million in annual costs, Amemiya said. The figure doesn’t include the cost of providing on-site services, which would have been more than $20,000 per individual annually.

The proposal to turn the property into a temporary homeless shelter was made in May by two City Council members, Ernie Martin and Joey Manahan.

Amemiya said the property was ultimately too big to fit into the city’s “scattered site” philosophy. “Already in Kakaako, we have 300 individuals, and we’re starting to see problems with the law, in terms of thefts, assaults, criminal activity. So, to put 800 persons in a building — which is two and a half times the 300 that are at Kakaako — we thought was the wrong approach.”

Meanwhile, work on the new homeless transitional facility on Sand Island is underway, with the Department of Facility Maintenance almost finished with grading the site.

Sandy Pfund, who heads the Strategic Development Office, said the city is going through the second round of bidding for the contract to construct modular housing units at the site. The deadline to submit the “best and final offer” for the bid is Friday, she said.

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