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UH to lease vacant land around West Oahu campus for development

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The University of Hawaii is moving ahead with plans to lease 168 acres of vacant land surrounding its West Oahu campus for mixed-use development.

UH has released a formal request for qualifications, to be followed by a request for proposals, to find a master developer.

“This is a unique opportunity to strategically and purposefully establish a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood that both supports and is supported by the University of Hawaii,” UH President David Lassner said in a statement.

The university controls two parcels of land in Kapolei: 500 acres makai of the H-1 freeway, where the campus sits near the future starting point of the city’s rail line, and 991 acres of undeveloped agricultural land mauka of the freeway. UH officials have previously said the university wants to hold onto about 300 of the makai acres for the growing campus to expand, which would make it comparable in size to the flagship Manoa campus.

The request for qualifications is for a site known as the “University District,” which runs east of the campus bordering Kualakai Parkway. UH said most of the acreage is zoned for a broad range of uses, with such development possibilities as market-rate student, faculty, senior and affordable housing; retail and commercial activities; recreational and sports facilities; schools; parks; and childcare facilities.

The university plans to enter into long-term leases versus selling off the land.

UH said a preferred developer will be selected to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement for a long-term lease for the development of University District. It anticipates the lease will be for a term up to 99 years.

“The revenue generated by the private development of this land is intended for investment into campus facilities to advance the growth of UH West Oahu and its academic programs,” UH said. 

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