In 2008 the City proposed a Housing First Project for the property next to Lum Sai Ho Tong. The Housing First Project would provide housing for the homeless and was unanimously opposed by the Downtown and Chinatown community. Lum Sai Ho Tong and Chinatown leaders formed the "Chinatown Community Center Association". After several years of negotiation and heartfelt testimony the City approves the Halewai'olu Residences and Community Center Project providing senior housing and a senior citizen community center in 2021. Although LSHT supports senior housing, concerns were voiced regarding health issues due to close proximity to a crematory and the redirection of the crematory emissions to LSHT that the large building will cause.
2008 - C&C Honolulu proposes a Housing First project for the property adjacent to LSHT
2010 - C&C Honolulu decides not to approve funding for Housing First project due to overwhelming community opposition of the homeless project
2013 - LSHT and Chinatown community leaders form the Chinatown Community Center Association (CCCA) to work with the City to conceive a project for the site
2016 - C&C Honolulu under Resolution 16-70 approves the Halewai'olu Residences and Community Center with modifications requested by LSHT and the community
Feb 2019 - Developer Michael's Group gets full funding of $80M for Halewai'olu Project
July 2019 - archeological dig completed
Jan 2020 - After requests for design plans, Michael's Group responds stating that they are updating setbacks to reflect Res 16-70 (40 ft setback from LSHT)
Mar 2020 - Michael's Group abruptly changes setback from 40 ft to 23 ft and tells LSHT that there is nothing we can do about it. The original setback was to create proper airflow to LSHT needed due to crematory of adjacent Borthwick Mortuary. The change to the setback creates a potential health issue for LSHT.
Oct 2020 - Despite continued efforts to address LSHT concerns, Michael's Group refuses to negotiate. LSHT uncover a mapping error in Borthwick's application for a permit which may affect the assessment for air quality and requests that a wind tunnel study be made at the site.
- Fate of LSHT public health concerns now rest with the City Council
Jan 2021 - LSHT gives testimony in support of senior housing but opposed to Res 21-15 because it does not adequately address health concerns
- Star Advertiser prints front page article on the approval to start construction of Halewai'olu Senior Residences
June 8, 2021 - City breaks ground on the Halewai'olu Residences. News reporting talks about community opposition but fails to identify that the opposition was not against senior housing but against the lack of air quality studies to prove health and safety of neighboring buildings such as LSHT and the senior tenants of the project, living 100 ft from a crematorium
Long-awaited Chinatown senior affordable housing project breaks ground (hawaiinewsnow.com)
June 28, 2021 - Demolition started. After pleading for a detail project schedule, we received 4 day notice that demolition will start. Concerns were for blockage of our private driveway, dust, heavy traffic, vibration -- the health and safety of our patrons and impact to our operation. Michael's Group showed apathy to our concerns.
*For information on the health and safety issues surrounding crematoria emissions:
Health Risks from Mercury in Cremation (JH&P, 2019) – No to Crematoria in Residential Neighborhoods (wordpress.com)
The Environmental Impact and Potential Human Health Effects of Cremation - GREEN BURIAL COUNCIL**