For 18 years Goodwill Hawaii has made makeshift use of a former automobile sales and service center in Makiki. Now it’s ready to transform the property into an expanded job training center and flagship thrift store.
The nonprofit held a blessing and groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for an $11 million overhaul of its sprawling and somewhat ramshackle complex at 1075 S. Beretania St. after five years of planning and raising enough money from donations to start work.
“It’s a special day for us at Goodwill,” said Laura Smith, the organization’s president and CEO. “We thank you for all your support.”
Bryan Andaya, Goodwill board chairman and chief operating officer of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, called the project a dream that’s coming to life.
“We know that this building will become a community hub, and we are excited to make this a reality,” he said. “We want to continue to grow our services.”
The renovation and expansion is slated to take a year to finish. The job training center on-site will remain open along with part of the existing thrift store while the work is being done. When it is complete, Goodwill said it will be able to double the number of people it serves on-site with educational programs to 6,000 from 3,000 annually.
Goodwill provides job training and education services for people with disadvantages, including those with disabilities, folks transitioning off public assistance and at-risk youth.
“We give them a hand up so they can be in a better, more financially stable place, contribute to their community and have a great family life,” Smith said.
The expanded facilities for what Goodwill calls its career and learning center will make it about the same size as a similar facility the nonprofit developed in Kapolei a decade ago.
Goodwill also has a smaller job training center in Mapunapuna on Oahu along with a few on the neighbor islands.
The Makiki thrift store will grow to 14,000 square feet from about 8,000, and the number of parking spaces will rise to about 100 from 18. An improved drive-thru donation drop-off area also is part of the improvement plan.
Goodwill, which next year will mark 60 years serving Hawaii, moved into the Makiki property in 2000 under a lease from then-owner BMW of Honolulu, which had a showroom fronting Beretania Street and a labyrinth of open-air service bays covered by metal warehouse roofing on the makai side of the property extending to Young Street. Goodwill bought the property in 2014 for $8 million. The nonprofit also leases a separate but connected building that fronts Beretania and is part of its operations. That building won’t be renovated.
Under Goodwill’s plan the makai side of its property will be enclosed and given a second story.
So far, the nonprofit has raised $6.1 million from donations for the work and is continuing a capital campaign it began last year.
Dawn Amano-Ige, wife of Gov. David Ige and an honorary chairwoman of the annual Goodwill Goes GLAM! fundraiser, participated in Tuesday’s ceremony and said the improvement and expansion project will help the nonprofit continue providing services for people in need.
“Goodwill serves an important role in our community,” she said. “I’m so excited to see that Goodwill will be investing in the future and committed to serving our community for many more years to come.”