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Asbestos abatement almost finished

15 units at Lahaina property left to be cleared; bids invited for 12 2-bed units

Hale Mahaolu is close to completing its asbestos abatement and renovation project involving 112 units at its Lahaina Surf affordable rental complex, a project which has been going on for more than five years.

Now, just 15 units need to be dealt with and the goal is to have all units completed by the end of this year, said Hale Mahaolu Executive Director Grant Chun in a email last week.

“It takes a coordinated effort to relocate the tenants to a completed unit,” Chun said in explaining the lengthy project. “The units not only need to be abated, but due to age, wear and tear, a full renovation is performed.”

An invitation for bids to rid 12, two-bedroom apartments of the asbestos is open until noon Wednesday. For more information, call Assistant Housing Manager Pat Bauwens at 661-3771.

The work on the 12 units is being funded by a Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant, Chun said. Hale Mahaolu is picking up the tab for the three last units that still need work.

The project dates back to 2013, prior to Chun’s arrival at Hale Mahaolu, when concerns about asbestos in the units were raised.

Lahaina Surf received fines from the state for not notifying tenants and contractors of the presence of asbestos, training employees in proper removal and performing exposure monitoring in six units.

A 2013 survey identified asbestos in popcorn ceilings, joint compounds and mastic flooring.

Former Executive Director Roy Katsuda had said in 2017 that when Lahaina Surf was acquired in 1972, it met asbestos guidelines for the time, but rules were made more stringent. Tenants are made aware of the presence of asbestos in disclosure forms.

He said that asbestos remained in the units, especially in the popcorn ceilings, but that it had been encapsulated per asbestos-handling guidelines.

Chun said that during the work, tenants are relocated either temporarily or permanently to a completed unit so the vacated unit can then be abated and renovated.

Work on each unit costs approximately $25,000, with Hale Mahaolu incurring an out-of-pocket expense of “well over” $1 million, plus lost rental revenue during renovation, Chun said.

In 2016, Hale Mahaolu received another CDBG grant, which covered the renovation cost of 12 units, or at the time, $208,000.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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