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urbanguy

Kaka'ako and its emerging Life-Sciences District

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Hello, here is where I will be adding updates and news about an area of Honolulu--specifically and area of "Kaka'ako" that is transforming into Hawaii's "Life-Sciences" neighborhood. There seems to be a lot of excitement in the air as Hawaii continues with its quest to diversify its economy. The Kaka'ako neighborhood is a mix of industrial, luxury high rise condominiums, shopping and entertainment and soon to be a place of biotechnology. A historical note: It was once nicknamed the "Portuguese suburb" but there are very little signs that there were Portuguese in the area, anymore, unless you travel north to Makiki-Punchbowl where there are street names named after places or people of Portugal, the Azores and Madeira like Lisbon street, Lusitana, Funchal, Madeira, etc.

Already Completed:

University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM)

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Proposed:

The Kakaako bio center - JABSOM to the left

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...And here's some recent news about a project set for the area:

UH biosafety lab site shifts from Pearl City to Kaka'ako

Concerns over infrastructure in need of millions of dollars worth of repair has led to a location change for a regional biosafety laboratory targeted for O'ahu.

The University of Hawai'i announced last week that it will build a $37.5 million biosafety laboratory at the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kaka'ako, instead of at Waimano Ridge in Pearl City as originally planned. Officials said the move was necessary after learning the renovation costs to get existing infrastructure up to standard for the new lab would be $38 million.

That cost would have eaten up the $25 million the National Institutes of Health gave the school to build the lab, along with the $12.5 million the state contributed. It also would have prolonged building the lab, which has to be completed by 2010.

Duane Gubler, director of the Asia-Pacific Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, said getting a lab of this caliber in Hawai'i is key to the area.

"Most disease experts consider it not a matter of if, but when Hawai'i will be introduced to infectious diseases," Gubler said. "It will allow us to work closely with public health officials and not be at the mercy of labs in the Mainland."

The Level III biosafe lab will be the 16th in the National Institutes of Health network across the United States. It will also be the only NIH biosafety lab west of Colorado Springs, Colo., and will represent Zone 9, which includes Hawai'i, Nevada and Arizona.

A Level III lab has high safety standards because its researchers study potentially lethal airborne diseases

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