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Waimanu Street businesses preparing to be evicted for rail

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Dec 10 2013 06:09:16 PM HST
Updated On: Dec 10 2013 08:00:13 PM HST

Several longtime businesses in Waimanu have been given six months to relocate because they are in the path of the city's new rail system.

Click here to read Catherine Cruz's article.

HONOLULU -

Luxury highrises on the Makai side sport Queen street addresses and everything Mauka is considered Waimanu.

Go figure. It is a quirky street, but it is home for businesses whose roots run deep, although not too much longer. 

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's report.

"About that part, My heart just went ah-h," said surfboard shaper Ben Aipa.

Aipa can't believe that the evictions will come as he celebrates his 50th year in business.

 The well-known waterman had hoped for more time in the location he shares with Ala Moana Surfboards retail shop.

 The notice from HART about the eviction date of next summer put a damper on the holidays.

The city bought the land under the companies almost two years ago.

In October, a judge cleared the way for the transit authority to resume evictions on land it has already bought.

Aipa has been scouting locations in Kapahulu and Kaimuki but it hasn't been easy even for someone with as much as history behind him.

“Like any business trying to move we want to stay central because that’s where the business is,” Aipa said.

The adoption agency next door has been looking in the same areas as well as out toward the airport.

Hawaii International Child has been at this location near Ala Moana Shopping Center for 13 years and is sorry to leave.

"There is not a lot out there we are looking for something that is wheelchair accessible that is friendly for children and has ample parking," said Kristine Altwies.

The move affects Tint Werks, a downtown business that stores its inventory as well as an acting studio.

Upstairs the owner of a school that trains students to work in spas and salons is sad to have to say goodbye to the neighborhood after putting her heart and soul into a build out of her dream business.

"We have invested a lot of money and time and just the connection you have to your location and that I think is the hardest for me," said Malia Sanchez.

Just down the street is where a concrete pillar is supposed to go. So may just be a matter of time for businesses on this section of the street.

Tahiti Imports has been in the building next door for 34 years. It is not included in the eviction notice

Like Aipa, it's been in business for five decades but its landlord has not agreed to sell to the city.

"We intend to stick it out here this is Kamaina company and customers all over the world know us in this location," said Brandon Seaver.

But change is coming soon.

Today it is is goodbye neighbors, tomorrow it will be hello, train.

HART will be helping to relocate the businesses.

It is also preparing to negotiate with other property owners along Dillingham Avenue as part of the City Center leg of the 20-mile long route.

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