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Council Approves Hualalai Kai Senior Housing Project

July 27, 2016, 7:30 AM HST
* Updated July 27, 7:34 AM
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Hualalai Kai Senior Housing Project

Hualalai Kai Senior Housing Project

The Hawai’i County Council approved the development of the Hualalai Kai Senior Housing project in West Hawai’i.

Hualalai Kai Senior Housing Project is a 9.25-acre senior housing/continuum of care project located at 75-232 Hualalai Road in Kailua-Kona.

It is the first of its kind in West Hawai‘i.

The project will provide much-needed services for seniors, create nearly 1,600 jobs, and bring in over $10,000,000 a year in state and federal Medicaid payments.

Hualalai Kai expected to break ground in late August; completion is planned for September 2018.

Hualalai Kai rendering.

Hualalai Kai rendering.

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The council vote exempts the builder from approximately $1.8 million in fair share and permitting fees, as well as permitting the land for this use with a change in Zoning from RM 2.5 to 2.0. These exemptions are allowed under the 201H regulations developed by the Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation and adopted by Hawai’i County.

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This legislation was written to help alleviate the state-wide shortage in affordable housing caused, in part, by fees and regulations that inhibit development. By providing exemptions from fees and regulations (except health and safety), developers are incentivized to build affordable housing.

Hualalai Kai is unique in the 201H process, because it addresses affordability, senior housing and senior care issues all in one project. This project meets the 201H requirement that over 50% of the units must be affordable.

The economic impact of this project will be far greater than most affordable housing project. This project will create 360 jobs on campus and a total of 1,600 jobs, according to a federal assessment.

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The state and federal Medicaid payout for the 112 beds will be over $10 million a year. The positive revenue impact on Kona Community Hospital will be approximately $1.8 million dollars a year, because the hospital will be able to transition wait-listed patients out of the acute care beds into a post-acute or Skilled Nursing environment.

More importantly, this project will provide much-need to care for island kūpuna. Market studies show that the island currently has an undersupply of 500 skilled nursing beds, 185 assisted living beds and 93 memory care beds.

This facilities and services shortage was identified as early as 2009 in the State of Hawai‘i Health Service and Facilities Plan. That plan identifies the need to fill the gap in long-term care as the number one priority for the state and No. 3 priority for the county (after the healthcare provider shortage and the facilities shortage).

Neither the state nor the county have the resources to build or run this this critical facility. As a result, the state and counties rely on private developers to build and operate projects like these.

The project is unique not only in Hawai‘i, but across the West Coast of the US because of its 70% Medicaid rating.

Because the highest demand in West Hawai‘i is by Medicaid patients, the developers, using the exemptions provided by the state and county, have created a project that can support that level of affordability.

The project is being developed by Hualalai Health LLC a partnership between Bruce Beard and Duane Ting. Ting is a fourth-generation Maui native. Beard is a healthcare and senior housing developer from Seattle, Washington, and has a 10-year investment in Hualalai Kai.

Interested residents and families should begin looking for information in January 2018.

For more information, call Liz Heiman at (808) 960-7353 or email [email protected].

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