HONOLULU (KHON2) — The mauka concourse at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport opened to travelers more than a year ago, but the new facility is noticeably missing places to eat as the building permit application for a restaurant was recently rejected.
Attempts to build a restaurant inside the mauka concourse have gone on for more than a year, and a date for the build-out remains up in the air.
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Multiple agencies are involved in the approval process for the building application for HMS Host, the state’s contracted vendor for the restaurant.
According to comments in the permit application, two agencies have rejected HMS Host’s building permit application to the City’s Department of Planning and Permitting.
The Honolulu Fire Department rejected application plans on August 22, after HFD asked the applicant to address several comments in the application.
HFD asked HMS Host to show the location of a K-extinguisher, typically used in commercial kitchens. The application comments also asked the applicant to point out the location of the manual pull for the kitchen’s fire suppression system. HMS Host was also asked to show a “hinged exhaust fan”, and finally the applicant is asked to pay a review fee of $747.50.
Meanwhile, the Wastewater Branch rejected the building permit plans on Oct. 19, the comments said there was no sewer connection application submitted.
Seemingly, this has been months of back and forth between the City’s DPP and the state’s contracted vendor.
The Senate Transportation Committee Chair, Senator Chris Lee, said the process to build a restaurant at the concourse ultimately impacts travelers, and he wants more clarity on what continues to slow down the build-out of the restaurant.
“This is like one of those moments where you really got to just break it down,” Lee said. “What went wrong here and how do we fix it for the next time so that this doesn’t happen again, and I think this means diving into some of the department’s processes and procedures.”
The lack of restaurants and food options at the concourse is something travelers have noticed.
Kauai resident Kawai Kaluahine said, “In the interisland terminal there’s like not that much food options and stuff like that because everything is kind of closed, so I guess that’s something that it would be good to improve just so that I’m not eating just like burger king every time.”
A spokesperson with the Hawai’i Department of Transportation said HMS Host is still working on resolving permit issues with the DPP. The DPP is now under new leadership and they are working to improve the permitting processes.
Lee said, “I’m pretty optimistic. The city has been really trying to, I think, turnover every stone at DPP.”
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KHON 2 News reached out to HMS Host corporate for a status update on the application and we will let you know when we hear back.