Proposal to relocate City Hall from Honolulu to Kapolei

Kapolei is known as Oahu’s second city.

But could it one day be the seat of our city government?

City lawmakers are discussing the idea of moving City Hall from Honolulu out to Kapolei.

City Council Chair Ernie Martin introduced a resolution asking the city administration to prepare a study to see if its even possible.

Honolulu Hale was built in 1928.  It’s where the Mayor has his main office and the City Council members have theirs.

“Honolulu Hale is such a historic structure — so beautiful but totally underutilized, insufficient for government services to the point where we are at now,” Martin said.

In fact, most of the city departments now call Kapolei Hale home.  It was built in 2001, and there’s room to grow.

“We do own the adjacent parcel, a substantial amount of acreage in Kapolei that would allow us to consider expanding Kapolei Hale,” Martin said.

And the idea would be to consolidate all city government services under one roof.

Martin says he doesn’t know how much the move would cost.

“And that’s why I think I authored the resolution to do a feasibility study to determine what the cost would be.  It would be substantial but there would be various ways you could do it, with the city’s rail project, perhaps we can partner with a developer, do a land exchange, the possibilities are there,” he added.

As for a timeline, it’s still in the very early stages.

“We’ll be taking testimony next week for the first time.  If it passes out of committee, then we’d adopt it at our July 9th meeting and then we’d call upon the Caldwell administration to initiate a timeline when a feasibility study could be done.  We’re hoping within six months,” Martin said.

So, what would happen to Honolulu Hale if City Hall were moved?

“We’re limited at what we can do because it’s a historic facility and personally I think we should consider converting it into a purely historic museum,” Martin said.  “We cannot grow any more at Honolulu Hale in terms of expansion, not many opportunities but in Kapolei we do have a lot of vacant land.”

Resolution 14-107 will be heard at the Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday, June 25.  The meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the Committee Meeting Room at Honolulu Hale.

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