Cost for new Wailuku parking, event facility could top $75 million
WAILUKU — Construction costs could hit as much as $75 million for the Wailuku Parking and Events Facility, which includes a multilevel parking structure and three-story building for retail, Maui County offices and special events space.
Estimated cost figures and an initial preferred version of the facility were unveiled last week to the Maui Redevelopment Agency, which will determine, perhaps in December, whether to grant a permit for the project’s design.
The first version of the preferred design shown Friday was put together after community and stakeholder input was received on three different concepts for the project, which included high- to low-intensity versions.
The facility would take the place of the Wailuku Municipal Parking lot, which has been at capacity for years with 214 stalls. County and state workers and employees of Wailuku businesses compete for parking spaces, leaving not much room for customers in town.
The facility’s preferred design includes a three-story building at the corner of Church and Vineyard streets. The bottom floor would be for retail stores, possibly for specialty grocery-type businesses, with the second floor for county offices such as the Real Property Tax Division and the redevelopment agency, said architect David Akinaka with the architectural firm Ferraro Choi & Associates Ltd., based on Oahu.
The third level would be “community space” where special events and meetings could be held. The events space is at the top level to take advantage the views of Kahului Harbor and Iao Valley.
The parking structure would be done at grade. The ground floor would have a high ceiling to allow for farmers markets to conduct business under cover and to allow access for emergency vehicles, Akinaka said. To keep costs down, no underground or below-grade parking would be done.
The parking structure’s floors would be staggered. With this design, Akinaka said the parking structure would not appear to be a whole large building stuck in the middle of town.
The parking structure could be four to five stories, depending on the preferred amount of spaces.
Akinaka said that the facility with 360 parking stalls, which would call for a four-level structure, would cost around $67 million. With 460 stalls, the structure would be five levels, and the project cost would be around $75 million, documents show.
Akinaka said the costs were the best current estimates.
The structure would not be entirely enclosed on its sides to allow for natural ventilation, which would be cheaper than mechanical ventilation. Akinaka added that there could be types of screens used to block out some direct views of the cars.
The openness would allow for better security of the parking structure, addressing a concern by community members. A central staircase connecting to the nearby ground-floor plaza would be in the middle of the garage.
The plaza would be on the Vineyard Street side of the property. Its design includes landscaping and a lawn. Outdoor events could be held as well.
The initial preferred design received positive reviews from redevelopment agency members.
Member Jonathan Starr said he was worried that the structure would look like a “shoebox turned on the side.”
He said the current renderings remind him of the Chinese Cultural Plaza on Oahu, which includes parking and retail stores. He also liked the overhanging of roofs for the Wailuku facility.
But Starr told Maui County planning staff that he didn’t want the facility to be too modern, having a lot of glass and stainless steel because the structure needs to fit in with surrounding buildings.
He said that softer designs could be better at capturing local hearts and minds.
Starr said he would prefer maximizing the amount of parking stalls at 460.
He pointed to the county offices and other entities in the new building that may call for more parking.
Redevelopment agency Chairwoman Carol Ball agreed.
“I think the maximum number is required. We are not going to keep on building,” she said. “We are building for the future, not only accommodating the need (now).”
Ball said that the parking structure is only a function of the facility, and she would rather have the focus of the attention on the facilities that will draw people to the area.
She said she was excited about the plaza and the special events space.
“It’s an events facility which will invite people from all over the island, maybe all over the world to see Wailuku in its grandest form,” she said.
Erin Wade, part of the Maui Redevelopment Agency staff and a small-town planner with the Planning Department, said after the meeting that an environmental assessment is being prepared for the project. It should be completed in December.
She said that project funding would need to be approved by the Maui County Council.
Plans call for construction to begin in 2019.
The current preferred version of the project will be presented at the next Wailuku First Friday event on Friday, along with a midweek event on Aug. 10, with a site for that meeting to be determined, Wade said.
For more information, see www.rewailuku.org/parking-civic-hub.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at email@example.com.