Water Board's Beretania Land To Be Developed

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After decades of delays, Honolulu's new water chief intends to lease out the city's prime Beretania Street property to developers to generate revenue and keep rates down.

"It's really time to see what's possible," Honolulu Board of Water Supply Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau told Civil Beat in an interview at the headquarters last week.

"This whole thing has gone back and forth for 25 years or so," he said. "My challenge is I'd like to try to get an RFP out before the end of the year — 2012. You can quote that and put me on the hook."

Lau has already met with The Queen's Medical Center, which has long lusted after the property. The entire complex, about six acres, includes sea-foam green buildings fronting Beretania near the corner of Punchbowl Street and a large multi-tiered parking lot behind, near the hospital.

"I can't say that it will be Queen's that will help us look at development of this property, the underutilized property back here, but Queen's is very interested," Lau said. He reiterated that any RFP — Request For Proposals — must adhere to procurement law because the Board of Water Supply is a semi-autonomous agency attached to the city government.

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