VNR: UH breaks ground on RISE entrepreneurship, student housing facility

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Bianca Mordasini, (808) 956-3263
Senior Director of Alumni and External Relations, Shidler College of Business
Margot Schrire, (808) 376-7818
AVP of Communications, UH Foundation
Posted: Jan 13, 2022

Link to video and sound (details below):

WHAT: The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa broke ground Thursday, January 13 on the Residences for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs (RISE), an innovation and entrepreneurship center/student housing facility on the site of the former Atherton YMCA across University Avenue from UH’s flagship campus. Scheduled to be completed in 2023, the $70 million live-learn-work facility will have 7,263 square feet of multi-purpose co-working, meeting, lab and classroom space, as well as 374 student housing beds for undergraduate and graduate students from across the UH System.

RISE is being built under a public-private partnership between UH, UH Foundation and Hunt Companies. Moss is the general contractor on the project, The Wilhelm Group is the construction manager and Design Partners Inc. is the lead architect. This is the university’s first major new construction P3 project.

WHY: Students from multiple disciplines will have the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurial education in what will be a one-stop shop for UH programs supporting research, innovation and entrepreneurship, areas critical to diversifying the state’s economy.

WHERE: RISE project site at the corner of University Avenue and Metcalf Street.


In-person speakers include:

  • UH President David Lassner

  • UH VP of Advancement and UH Foundation CEO Tim Dolan

  • UH Mānoa PACE Board of Directors Vice Chair Susan Yamada

  • Hunt Companies—Hawaiʻi Division President Steve Colón

  • City and County of Honolulu Councilmember Calvin Say

Additional details:

  • The Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship located in the Shidler College of Business will operate the entrepreneurship program at RISE, while B.HOM Student Living, which manages 28,000 beds at 24 universities in the U.S., will manage the day-to-day operations of the dormitory.

  • UH Foundation purchased the one-acre property on University Avenue in 2017 for $8 million. To date, $2 million has been raised from individual, corporate and foundation donors, including Walter A. Dods Jr., Rich and Eileen Wacker, American Savings Bank, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, Hawaiian Electric and Island Insurance Foundation. 

  • The $70 million construction cost is being funded primarily by tax-exempt bonds, which will be repaid with dorm fees. No taxpayer funds will be used for the project. 

  • Demolition of the existing Mary Atherton Richards House at the corner of University and Seaview Avenues was completed in November 2021, and interior demolition of the historic Charles Atherton House followed.



RISE project renderings (Courtesy: Hunt Companies)

Shots from RISE project groundbreaking ceremony (Courtesy: University of Hawaiʻi)



David Lassner, UH President


“The importance of our vision is really validated by the incredible support we’ve gotten from so many in the community who are helping us build a one-of-a-kind facility for our students who are interested in innovation and entrepreneurship to hone their skills in a live-learn-work environment.”

Susan Yamada, UH Mānoa PACE Board of Directors Vice Chair


“Now that we have our own building, it’s like a beacon in the night for our entrepreneurs. And so hopefully we’ll be able to attract them from all different majors throughout campus, all the campuses.”