Home Critical engine Housing UH Mānoa, the entrepreneurship center moves forward

Housing UH Mānoa, the entrepreneurship center moves forward


Render of the Atherton building

Project partners plan to begin work in late July on a unique six-story $ 70 million facility at the University of Hawaii in Mānoa which integrates student accommodation and an innovation / entrepreneurship center, financed with non-taxable private money. University and EUH The Foundation works together as part of a public-private partnership (P3) with Hunt Development Group to design, build and finance the innovation facility to live, learn and work at Atherton YMCA location.

It is one of the many P3 and real estate projects EUH seeks to build modern educational facilities at a more affordable price and develop alternative sources of income to support the EUH mission.

“This project represents a new era for the University of Hawaii in several ways. It will provide a dynamic immersive educational and living experience to prepare students to push the boundaries of innovation and entrepreneurship as they become the foundation of a new, more diverse and sustainable economy, ”said EUH President David lassner. “It will also be the first, but not the last, of our major construction projects to be launched without an investment of public taxpayer funds. Our deepest gratitude to EUH Foundation and dedicated private sector leaders on the UHF Advice for generously sharing their time and expertise to ensure that the historic Atherton property remains a part of EUH Mānoa and for their commitment EUH as the economic engine of our islands.

Tim Dolan, EUH Vice President of Advancement and EUH Foundation CEO said: “We are very happy to be a partner of this P3 project which will bring an innovation education center to our campus community. Donors are also key partners in this ambitious project. Their philanthropic investments have helped us get there, and their continued support is essential to enable us to take advantage of all the opportunities this center will offer our students and our economy.

Atherton Render
Render of the Atherton building

The 114,000 square foot structure will integrate academic and collaborative spaces with student accommodation, including 219 one and two bedroom units for a total of 373 beds. The new facility, located at the corner of University Avenue and Metcalf Street, will house the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) and take inspiration from the highly successful Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah.

In addition to living facilities, the 18,000 square foot center includes coworking offices, meeting rooms, classrooms and prototyping labs with 3re printers, scanners, sewing machines and laser cutters. Students from multiple disciplines will have the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurial training in what will be a one-stop-shop for EUH programs supporting research, innovation and entrepreneurship, areas essential to the diversification of the State’s economy.

EUH Mānoa is one of the country’s leading research universities, and we need to create an environment in which we can turn laboratory research into applied commercialization opportunities, ”said Susan yamada, vice-president of PACE. “This center will be an ecosystem to support EUH innovators and a catalyst for entrepreneurial activity in Hawaii. Entrepreneurs don’t work nine to five, they work late at night and on weekends. Imagine having a space to go, where you meet other like-minded people, exchange ideas, and find the resources to take an idea to the next startup phase.

Hunt Development Group will finance the project and the rental income will offset the bonds issued to finance the project. Atherton YMCA consists of the Charles Atherton House and the Mary Atherton Richards House located on the 1 acre site across from one of the main entry points to the EUH Mānoa Campus, the Sinclair Student Success Center and the Campus Center.

The project will maintain the iconic façade of the Charles Atherton Pink House on the property.

The demolition of Mary Atherton Richards’ gray house is scheduled to begin in late July. A resolution that would expand the campus boundaries to include the Atherton property is expected to be heard in a public hearing before city council on July 7. Mānoa’s neighborhood council overwhelmingly approved the concept of the project in 2019 with a 9-1 vote.

University and YMCA have already teamed up to allow the YMCA continue to offer its programs based on EUH Mānoa Campus at the Queen Lili’uokalani Student services center.

Atherton Render
Render of the Atherton building


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