Blood Bank still searching for property to relocate operations

The agency overseeing the Honolulu rail project want a piece of the Blood Bank of Hawaii’s property, but have objected to buying the whole parcel — and paying full price.
KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) –

City officials, and the agency overseeing the Honolulu rail project, want a piece of the Blood Bank of Hawaii’s property.

The Blood Bank wants to sell its entire 22,500 square-foot Dillingham Boulevard site to the City — it’s been appraised at $5 million — but the rail authority says only wants a portion of the land.

The city has discussed forcing the sale through condemnation.

“At any day, we could receive a lawsuit for seizure of part of our property,” Blood Bank CEO Kim-Anh Nguyen said. “That’s the sword hanging over our head.”

Nguyen says the Blood Bank must move out of its Dillingham home before rail construction hits the corridor, since blood bank operations will impacted by related closures.

Since discussions began two years ago, the non-profit says it has checked out 30 properties, but none of them were right.

“We need to be close to the airport, because we ship blood every day. We need to be close to our hospitals. And we need to have generator power access,” Nguyen said. “The building itself has to support a lab with heavy equipment.”

Anticipating rail work that will affect traffic, the Blood Bank divided its operations, moving the drop-in donor center five miles its from Kalihi headquarters.

As a result, the blood bank says, drop-in donations plummeted. To make up for it, the blood bank increased mobile blood drives.

“We’ve actually been trying to cut our costs,” Nguyen said. “This has put in a wrench it. Yes. It costs more.”

The move, Nguyen says, contributed to the non-profit losing money last year. It now needs capital from the sale Dillingham property to help pay for a move to a permanent home — a move that could cost $10 million or more.

“Just renovating our satellite center so we could move our donors, that cost $1.5 million. We just don’t have that money in our reserves,” Nguyen said.

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