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Kewalo Apartments
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Merit Award Winner

Hawaii BuiltGreen™ - LEED Certified Commercial

Entered by: Moss & Associates and Pacific Development Group



Project Team

General Contractor: Hunt Building Company, Ltd.

Architect: Basis Architecture and Design

Designer: Philpotts Interiors

Landscape: First Look Exterior

Photographer: Brad Peebles


Project Statement

At first glance, Kewalo Apartments appeared well kept for a 47 year old building. The CMU and concrete structure remained stout and free of any significant damage. The urban resident base was mostly long-term tenants of the property and were largely very polite, clean and good tenants. With such a fantastic, central location with close access to public transportation and many other needs, the long term affordability of this housing made it a much sought after and highly regarded address for the 38 families that lived there. At 47 years of age, however, there some upgrades that were desirable but many that were absolutely necessary. A majority of the original cabinets and countertops were in substandard condition. Much of the flooring, doors, tile and hardware was worn or damaged. The cast iron plumbing and waste lines were corroding and weak. The concrete roof parapet was spalling and falling to the ground creating potential danger for residents and pedestrians on and next to the property. In general, the property was intact, but severely tired.

The original project scope included: asbestos and lead abatement; replacement of all entry doors and windows; replacement of plumbing stacks; upgrading all electrical to current code; upgrading fire alarm system; full replacement of bathrooms and kitchens; abatement of asbestos containing flooring; reconfiguration of some interior walls; conversion of 5% of the units to ADA standards; new roofing; new exhaust fans; landscaping and parking lot improvements and updating of the laundry room and management office. To further add to the complexity of this project, the Owner had committed to striving for LEED Silver certification.

The project team faced the common challenges of these “gut-rehab” projects. First and foremost, the work was performed in phases, as the project was fully occupied and move-out of all residents at once was not feasible or permitted. The concern, therefore, is the safety of the residents who remain in their units, adjacent to the work being performed. Great care is taken to ensure the safety and comfort of the residents and staff, including keeping access to their units and to parking. Further compounding this challenge for this project was the fact that the property had very little common area in which to stage materials and to accommodate the daily logistics of construction. Finally the work took place at a brisk pace, forcing all involved to work efficiently, manage just-in-time material deliveries, and maintaining a safe environment for all. All of these challenges were faced, and overcome by a professional and dedicated team that excelled and kept up with the challenging schedule.

In addition to the original scope, HUD insisted on maximizing amenities in the limited, common area spaces. This required a mid-stream design and pricing effort for a small area that included a new CMU screen wall to conceal large hot water storage tanks, as well as a new picnic and barbeque area. The combined area was accented with a new aluminum (faux wood pattern) trellis and fence structure. This added work had to be woven into the original common area work sequence, while navigating an accelerated permit process for the added scope.


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Mailing: P.O.Box 970967
Waipahu, HI 96797
Address: 94-487 Akoki Street
Waipahu, HI 96797

Tel: 808-847-4666

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