Photo courtesy of UHERO

Photo courtesy of UHERO

BY HAWAII REPORTER

Turnaround Forecast for Hawaii’s Construction Industry

The latest construction forecast shows Hawaii rebounding from last year’s low, with an increase in work driven by government spending, including the start of Honolulu’s long-awaited rail project.

The forecast by the University of Hawaii Economics Research Organization projects growth in construction income and jobs for the first time in four years in 2011 government infrastructure projects and rail increase the amount of work available.

The report is incorporating the rail project for the first time into its forecast this year and estimates the project will lead to a sharp pick up in construction later this year.

“According to city estimates, the rail project will involve the expenditure of about $3.7 billion in local construction, with another roughly $1 billion in professional services,” the forecast says.

“By our estimate, this will raise construction jobs in Hawaii by 5,000-5,500 at the peak in 2013-2014, sufficient to reduce the statewide unemployment rate by more than one-half percentage point.”

The forecast is good news for the state’s beleaguered construction industry, which has been one of the worst-hit sectors in the recent recession. The city’s $5.5 billion rail project has long been seen as a possible boost for the business, though it still faces legal challenges with at least two lawsuits being filed in state court.

The forecast notes the potential for legal challenges to delay rail construction and also says that other potential risks for the forecast including rising energy costs and higher interest rates.

The UHERO report notes even without rail there are other large infrastructure projects pending by government, including a sewer system upgrade on Oahu, state harbor work and deferred maintenance at schools.

“All told, the value of real government contracts will surge 60 percent in 2011 and will double by 2013, compared with the 2010 level,” the report says.

The forecast also notes that residential and non-residential construction is expected to recover at a slower pace. It estimates residential building permits will rise at a 3 percent inflation-adjusted rate this year and 34 percent next.

Non-residential construction is expected to rise by a mid-single digit percentage rate over the next several years.

Kua ‘Aina: From North Shore of Oahu to London

A report in the U.K.’s BigHospitality.com website says a Kua ‘Aina Sandwich location will open near London’s Carnaby Street this summer.

The chain is known for its char-grilled hamburgers and sandwiches. The restaurant’s original location was in Haleiwa. Today the chain has another location at Ward Centre in Honolulu. Another 16 locations are operated in Japan, according to the company’s Japanese website.

Courtesy Keno Auctions

Chest of Drawers from Honolulu sells for $317,200

A rare chest of drawers discovered in Honolulu recently was sold for $317,200 in a Keno Auctions sale in New York.

The William and Mary Veneered High Chest of Drawers circa 1705-1725 opened bidding at $60,000. The piece is said to represent the peak of cabinetmaking in the baroque style in early 18th century Boston, according to website of Keno Auctions. The Manhattan auction house is operated by Leigh Keno, who appears frequently on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow.

The drawers attracted bids from both the floor and telephone bidders during the Jan. 18 auction. A telephone bidder won the auction, setting what Keno Auctions said was a world record for a  William and Mary Veneered High Chest of Drawers.

Hawaii-Alaska Agreement on Telehealth Technology

The John A. Burns School of Medicine, the University of Hawaii’s College of Social Sciences and the Alaska Federal Health Care Partnership have entered into an agreement to cooperate in the development and fielding of telehealth technology throughout the Pacific region.

The medical school’s Telehealth Research Institute and its Alaska partner will look for ways to bring better healthcare to people at lower costs through telehealth, which is the delivery of health-related services and information via telecommunications technologies.

Beneficiaries of the agreement, will be the residents of Hawai‘i and Alaska, including federal health-care beneficiaries, those living in remote areas, and other Pacific Island native peoples.

To facilitate the partnership, JABSOM’s Telehealth Research Institute will leverage its recently funded three-year, $980,000 grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to establish the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center.

The Alaska Federal Health Care Partnership represents eight federally funded health-care activities in Alaska.  It is in the second year of a three-year $750,000 federal Health Resources and Services Administration grant for Home Telehealth Monitoring.

Deadline set for Candidate, Voter Registration for Neighborhood Board Elections

A Feb. 18 deadline has been set for completed candidate and voter registration forms for Neighborhood Board elections.

The forms may be downloaded at www.honolulu.gov/nco.  Completed forms must be postmarked by February 18, 2011, or can be hand delivered to the Neighborhood Commission Office at Honolulu Hale, Room 406, by 4:30 p.m. on February 18, 2011.

The 2011 Neighborhood Board elections will be held in April and May of this year. At stake are 439 seats on Oahu’s 33 Neighborhood Boards, whose volunteer members hold monthly meetings and serve as advisors on community concerns.

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