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Expansion Continues at Maui R&T Park

Land Use Commission hearings in progress; new construction planned.

August 15, 2013
Susan Halas - Contributing Writer ( , Maui Weekly

The Maui Research & Technology Park (Maui R&T Park) in Kihei continues its presentation before the state Land Use Commission (LUC) on plans to revise and expand the park's master plan.

The park presently consists of about 150 acres; management hopes to "urbanize" another 253 acres for a total of 403 acres by the time the build-out is completed in 2034.

"This area has been community-planned for a research and technology park of this size since 1989," said Steve Perkins, park manager. "We are not asking for anything new."

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Steve Perkins, manager of the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei, is an employee of Pacific Rim Land, which is a partner in the park.

Perkins is an employee of Pacific Rim Land, which is a partner in the park.

According to Perkins, the evidentiary portion of the presentation to the LUC concluded on Thursday, Aug. 8, and decision-making is expected on Oct. 17.

"We received strong testimony in support of the project from the Maui Economic Development Board, the Kihei Community Association, the Carpenters Union and Kihei Charter School," Perkins said.

He was "cautiously optimistic" that the LUC would grant the requests to allow a greater variety of uses within the park, including housing and neighborhood retail, food and beverage establishments, small grocery stores and similar facilities. Also requested are smaller lots and inclusion of public and quasi-public uses.

Perkins said that that people who work for knowledge-based companies (such as the occupants of the tech park) typically like to live close to their work and prefer an environment where services and amenities are readily available.

Even after approval by the LUC, changes to the master plan will also need to go through the Maui County Council and the Maui Planning Commission, a process that Perkins estimated could take an additional six to nine months.

Maui Brewing Company construction started

Commenting on other recent activity at the Maui R&T Park, he noted that Maui Brewing Company (MBC) has started construction on its new facilities. A company media release projects the opening of its production brewery and tasting room for June 2014. This first phase of the MBC's expansion will enable it to increase production substantially to approximately 45,000 barrels in its first full year of operation. The tasting room is anticipated to accommodate public tours and special events including local food trucks and chef "pop up" events. The company estimated the first phase of the new facility will create over 20 new jobs.

The second phase consisting of a restaurant--a brew pub and distillery-cidery--is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2015. This segment includes the kitchen and dining room build-out consisting of about 200 seats inside the dining area with an additional 8,000 square feet of patio dining, beer garden and event space.

The menu is envisioned as an extension of what is currently offered at MBC existing West Maui brew pub. This phase also includes production of spirits and ciders from local fruits. The company release said an additional 60 to 70 new jobs are anticipated when this phase is completed.

New skilled nursing facility planned

Perkins also said that Regency Namakua LLC has opened escrow and made a deposit on two lots in the park and put up a project sign. According to a recent report in Pacific Business News (PBN), a 175-bed skilled nursing facility will be built on the almost five acre site.

The Regency Maui Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is being funded by Regency Venture Fund Maui LLLP, which is part of the Hawaiian Islands Regional Center. This is an entity that seeks and raises money from international investors as an authorized Regional Center under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' EB-5 program. It is also financing a 100-bed skilled nursing facility in Hilo, the PBN report said. Calls made to their spokesperson requesting additional details were not returned.

Kihei Charter High School finalizing design-build financing

Also in the works, Perkins said, is a new high school facility for Kihei Charter School (KCS). The school's management is finalizing design and build financing with U.S. Department of Agriculture for a structure on the 2.8-acre lot the school already owns in the park mauka of Maui Research and Technology Center (MRTC). A decision is expected within the next month.

Form Based Codes Workshop on Aug. 27

Though not related directly to the R&T facility, Perkins noted that John Buetler, a planner at Calthorpe Associates, urban designers based in Berkeley, Calif., will be on Maui on Tuesday, Aug. 27, to present workshops to the Maui County Council and Maui Planning Commission on "Form Based Codes."

Calthorpe, a nationally recognized firm, developed the master plan update for the Maui R&T Park.

Two separate events are planned; both will be open to the public. The locations and times of the presentations have not yet been announced.



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