HONOLULU (KHON2) — Work begins in late July to turn the Atherton YMCA location into a University of Hawaii live, learn, work building.

On the corner of Metcalf Street and University Avenue, the gray Mary Atherton Richards House will be demolished while the pink Charles Atherton House façade will be the same.

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The new UH facility will have student housing, office space, and classrooms. The building is called RISE which stands for Residences for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs.

This project represents a new era for the University of Hawaiʻi in several ways. It will provide a dynamic immersive educational and living experience to prepare students to push the frontiers of innovation and entrepreneurship as they become the foundation of a more diverse and sustainable new economy. It will also be the first, but not last, of our major construction projects to be initiated without investment of public taxpayer funding. Our deepest gratitude to the UH Foundation and the dedicated private sector leaders on the UHF Board for generously sharing their time and expertise to ensure that the historic Atherton property remains a part of UH Mānoa and for their commitment to UH as the economic engine of our islands.

David Lassner
UH President

In the Charles Atherton building, on the first floor there is going to be food and beverages and a lobby. The third floor will be office space.

In the Mary Atherton Richards House space there will be dorms for 373 students in a six-story building.

“Every time Hawaii gets into an economic slump, we start talking about diversification of the economy,” said Susan Yamada, Vice Chair for Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship. “Then everything comes back, and everyone just moves on the way they were doing things. At the university we are committed to the diversification of the economy and by assisting these students, basically what we are doing is every year we are going to be releasing out into our community 373 entrepreneurial thinkers. We hope that is a critical mass that we will begin to make effective diversification changes in our economy.”

UH reports the plan is to build modern educational facilities and develop other ways to make money to support the UH mission.

Construction starts in the late summer, early fall of this year with completion before Fall 2023.

The programs from the YMCA will be based at the UH Manoa campus at the Queen Liliʻuokalani Center for Student Services.