Na Hale nets $100,000 housing grant

REIT Way provides funds for Kahoma project, which should lower home prices

The REIT Way Hawaii Community Giving campaign, involving a group of real estate investment trusts, donated $100,000 to Na Hale O Maui community land trust on Monday to help build 12 homes in the Kahoma Residential Subdivision and reduce the cost to homeowners.

“We fully support the vision of Na Hale O Maui,” said Christopher White, senior general manager of Whalers Village, a REIT property owned by Brookfield Properties Retail Group. “The people who live and work in West Maui need affordable quality homes in a community providing up-to-date amenities.”

Real estate investment trusts are long-term property holders that own and manage commercial buildings, medical facilities, residential housing, hotels and entertainment venues.

Thirteen REITs in Hawaii — with Maui properties including Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, Wailea Beach Resort-Marriott, Maui Mall and Whalers Village — formed the REIT Way Hawaii Community Giving Campaign. It supports forward thinking initiatives that will alleviate, supplement and create affordable housing solutions for Hawaii, its website says. The campaign is conducted through the nonprofit Nareit Foundation.

Over the next three years, the REIT Way Hawaii Community Giving Campaign will continue investing in initiatives, like Na Hale, which makes homes affordable by separating the cost of the land from the home, the news release announcing the grant said. Na Hale acquires land and develops the property, selling only the house and leasing the land, which allows families to keep the appreciation on the home and hand it down to family.

The check presentation was made Monday at a Na Hale home in Waikapu Gardens. Attending the event were Mayor Michael Victorino; Fred Findlan, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Maui; Angela Vento, general manager of the Wailea Beach Resort; Dara Bernstein, senior vice president and tax counsel for Nareit; and Cassandra Abdul, Na Hale executive director.

“This donation from the REIT Way Hawaii Community Giving Campaign marks a significant step toward leveraging funds for the construction of 12 truly affordable homes for income-eligible families living or working in West Maui,” said Abdul. “Na Hale O Maui homes remain affordable in perpetuity and never go to market.”

The more than $6.8 million project is mostly funded by the county and Na Hale, she explained. The county and Na Hale each put in $780,000 to purchase the lots, which range from 6,000 to 9,000 square feet, Abdul said.

She noted that $130,000 per lot “is like nothing” in this market. Na Hale used funds from its sales of previous homes to come up with its share of the land costs.

The county is putting in another $1.5 million for the building of the three and four bedroom homes; Na Hale has secured its share through a $3.7 million loan, Abdul said.

The $100,000 grant from the REITs will be used to reduce Na Hale’s loan, which will directly reduce the cost to homeowners, she said.

Abdul emphasized that Na Hale had yet to sign construction contracts, so she could not put an exact price on the homes. But the cost of homes are expected to range between $350,000 and $430,000, she said.

“If all the stars line up,” Na Hale can sign contacts and break ground in February with construction expected to take a year, Abdul said.

There currently are 40 families on the qualified buyer list for the 12 homes, which are limited to families who live or work on the west side.

“Affordable housing should be more than a dream for Maui families,” said Findlen of the Hyatt Regency Maui, a REIT property owned by Host Hotels and Resorts. “We’re honored to be here supporting Na Hale O Maui’s mission to increase affordable housing here on Maui.”

For more information on the REIT Way Hawaii Community Giving Campaign, go to thereitwayhawaii.com.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.

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