Oct. 5, 2023
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
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ʻŌʻō (digging sticks) loosening dirt in unison, a long strand of maile lei held by dignitaries blessed with wai (water), and Hawaiian salt lightly sprinkled on the ground marked the start of construction of a $170-million student housing facility on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus. The October 4 groundbreaking for the Residences for Graduate Students began with UH Mānoa spokeswoman Moanikeʻala Nabarro grounding the ceremony in ʻāina (land) based ʻike (knowledge) where the two buildings that will make up the facility will be built.
“As UH Mānoa strives to become a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning, we understand how vital it is to carry ʻike about the ʻāina on which we stand, sit, live and work,” said Nabarro. “We are privileged to have the opportunity to be here in the ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī, a place teeming with deeply-rooted legends and rich moʻolelo (stories) that can still be felt on our very skin in the form of nourishing rains and winds.”
The Residences for Graduate Students will be located on the ma uka (mountain) side of Dole Street between the East-West Center and the Mānoa stream. There will be 316 units total in the facility for more than 550 graduate students and their families, along with junior faculty members. The complex is scheduled to be completed in fall 2025 and will include a childcare facility, retail spaces, study rooms and a café.
“Our graduate students here at Mānoa, like every other major research university, perform a lot of the actual work behind the discoveries that we make and push out to good use in the community,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno at the groundbreaking. “This project, for the first time, will give them a residence on campus so that they can become more integrated into our campus community and feel like they are a really valued member of our community.”
The modern housing facility is UH’s second major public-private partnership (P3) capital improvement project on the UH Mānoa campus, built by private partners with minimal or zero taxpayer or tuition monies.
The private partners in the project include the Collegiate Housing Foundation (CHF), a non-profit tax exempt organization that secured the financing in September through tax-exempt bonds that will be repaid with the rental income of residing students at the facility. It will be developed and managed by Greystar Real Estate Partners, and Swinerton Builders has been contracted by Greystar to construct the facility.
Swinterton hosted the groundbreaking and representatives of the CHF and Greystar attended along with Hawaiʻi Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke.