Ongoing renovation of state-owned building still behind schedule

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It’s been under renovation for more than a decade, yet the Princess Kamamalu building at the corner of King and Richards streets is still not finished. The state-owned building has been vacant since 2003.

Some renovation work was started but was stopped due to lack of funding and then eventually picked up again.

Meanwhile, several state agencies that were supposed to be in the Kamamalu building have been renting out other office space in downtown Honolulu this entire time.

So when will work be finished?

We last checked on the progress of the renovation work a year ago and we were told the building would be ready by fall 2016, but obviously that targeted time has come and gone.

We checked on the building Friday and there were several workers on site.

We reached out to the state Department of Accounting and General Services to find out when the work is scheduled to be finished. The department said in a statement that the work should be done by the end of February of this year.

We’re told the Departments of Health and Human Services are set to move in any time between March to June.

We’re still waiting for answers as to why the work has taken so long and how much money has the state spent on rent to house the two agencies while work was being done.

In the meantime, we reached out to State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D/Kapalama, Kalihi Valley, Ft. Shafter) and she feels there’s a lack of accountability concerning this project.

She said “it’s very frustrating for me to see that it’s taken us so long to be able to get the building completed and to get those agencies into the building so that we can save the taxpayers money.

“There are no consequences that it’s a year late. In the private sector, you’d get fired,” Kim said.

The total cost of the Kamamalu building renovations is $26 million, but Senator kim tells me the cost could be more due to the length of time it’s taken to finish the project.

We’ll be checking with the state again next month to see if the renovations finally get done.

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