Howard Hughes to present plans for $20M upgrade to Kewalo Basin Harbor this spring

The Hawaii Community Development Authority is scheduled to hear plans from The Howard

The Hawaii Community Development Authority is scheduled to hear plans from The Howard

The Howard Hughes Corp. is scheduled to present plans in May for its $20 million upgrade to the Kewalo Basin Harbor that’s directly across from its 60-acre Ward Village master-planned community in Honolulu.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority has scheduled a presentation hearing for May 4 at 1 p.m. at its office on Queen Street in Honolulu.

A decision-making hearing is scheduled for June 1 at 1 p.m. at the same venue.

Howard Hughes’ Kewalo Harbor Development Co. LLC is requesting a development permit from the HCDA, the state agency regulating development in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako, to do the upgrades.

The project, which has been estimated to cost between $15 million and $20 million, consists of building 214 boat slips in two phases, as well as various maintenance, upgrades and modernization of existing harbor infrastructure, including installing a dedicated marine fueling facility.

Last week, the Texas-based developer, which took over management duties of the harbor in September, received approval from the HCDA to undergo a $3.5 million upgrade on the Fisherman’s Wharf loading dock at Kewalo Basin Harbor that is part of the overall renovation of the harbor.

Pacific Business News

Hawaii buyers lead local home, condo purchases, Title Guaranty report finds

It is no secret that some of Hawaii’s priciest real estate is being bought by those who don’t live in Hawaii, but a quarterly Title Guaranty report found that local residents, or at least buyers with recorded local addresses, were purchasing most of the state’s residential real estate, handily eclipsing rates set by buyers from other U.S. states.

Between January and September, buyers with local addresses bought 11,638 properties in Hawaii worth a combined dollar volume of $6.3 billion. California buyers outpaced other Mainland states by purchasing 1,167 Hawaii properties, totaling $955.6 million, during the first nine months of this year.

But some real estate industry experts say those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Mike Imanaka, senior vice president of data services for Title Guaranty, said the recorded addresses of some Mainland and foreign buyers, particularly those who have purchased high-priced Hawaii homes and condominiums, can be tied to law firms or limited liability corporations with a local address. These kind of property purchases, he explained, would be grouped with sales made to Hawaii residents.

Meanwhile, buyers from Washington state were second, purchasing 262 properties for a combined total of $202.2 million, between January and September. Buyers from Texas trailed close behind with 211 properties with a dollar volume of $113.9 million, followed by buyers from Colorado with 117 properties with a dollar volume of $90 million.

Darin Moriki
Pacific Business News

Honolulu development firm buys Kakaako property for its headquarters

Phillip Hasha of Redmont Group LLC. The Honolulu-based commercial real estate development

Phillip Hasha of Redmont Group LLC. The Honolulu-based commercial real estate development

Redmont Group has purchased property in Kakaako, the fast-growing Honolulu neighborhood where the commercial real estate developer is headquartered and where the firm plans to focus most of its resources, including designing, building, managing and investing in projects, the company’s executives told PBN.

The firm, which has ties to Birmingham, Alabama, and Auburn University, where some of its top executives used to live and go to school, bought the leasehold interest at 814 Ilaniwai St. for $190,000 from Honolulu-based Shopping Services of Hawaii Inc.

The two-story 6,000-square-foot building sits on a 5,000-square-foot parcel of land owned by Honolulu-based 814 Ilaniwai LLC, which lists Kaye Kawahara and Carolyn Shiraki tenancy by entirety as its managing member.

The property has a total assessed value of about $1 million, property records show.

Phillip Hasha, principal and chief operating officer of Redmont Group, told PBN that the three-year-old company, which has 10 employees, will eventually spruce up its new headquarters.

Before moving to Kakaako on April 1, its headquarters was located in Downtown Honolulu at the Harbor Square mixed-use tower.

“Hawaii is our focus but we still will invest elsewhere,” Hasha said, noting that it recently sold an apartment complex in Birmingham, with the proceeds from that sale to go towards investing more in Hawaii. “We are urban developers that are focusing on Kakaako and the airport area.”

One of its current projects is the new Acura dealership property near the airport, which will be an adaptive re-use project to the tune of about $6 million.

“We’re constantly looking for industrial properties to do adaptive re-use projects,” Hasha said. “We’re only scratching the surface.”

The founders of Redmont Group — Hasha, Ryan Takaki and Brad Wardlaw — all attended the Auburn University real estate developers program, where they met.

“It’s a privilege to live in Hawaii and we know how serious it is to develop in Hawaii,” said Thomas Rubel, president of Redmont Construction, a division of Redmont Group. “Everything we do is looking through the lens of how we are changing Hawaii.”

Duane Shimogawa
Pacific Business News

MetroGrow Hawaii: Kakaako’s first urban vertical farm

Tucked away in the heart of Kaka’ako lives a little urban vertical farm. You would never know it unless you enter a second floor door and turn a corner. Smiling and eager to share his passion for plants is Kerry Kakazu. Not only does he have a degree in biology from UH Manoa and graduate degrees in plant physiology from UC Davis, he’s also worked in biomedicine, was a teacher and professor and dabbled a bit in cancer research. (In case you’re wondering, plant physiology is the study of how plants function.)

Several years ago Kakazu thought his hobby of growing plants might be a good business. He started looking for a spot where he could create his own urban indoor farm. That’s how MetroGrow Hawaii began. “Right now it’s been savings, family, a few friends just helping me out,” Kakazu says about the commitment behind the vertical aeroponic and hydroponic operation.

Kakazu has an 800-sf second floor space to grow his 50 beds of greens off Auahi and Cooke streets.

The little farm is like a baby that Kakazu has nurtured, and now he’s a proud daddy eager to share it with the world. He grows things like butter lettuce and ice plant (also known as glacier lettuce, which is super cool and has tiny droplets of water that make them shine and taste salty like sea asparagus). He has micro greens and various shoots including tendril pea shoots and golden corn shoots. He even has experimental crops and has promised to give me the scoop once these show promise.

What makes aeroponics so cool is that instead of soaking plants’ roots in water, the system mists them every few seconds, giving just the right amount of nutrient-rich water they need to grow. Kakazu says this method conserves water and enhances nutrients. And indoor farms mean you control the lighting (he uses LED lights) and avoid invasive pests. “Definitely in this kind of growing the ability to control the environment is key,” he says. Often he is able to grow a plant faster than in dirt, shaving off more than a week from seedling to harvest.

Ice plant

Produce from this working farm goes to restaurants like Yohei Sushi, Tango, Stage Restaurant and Vino (slated to reopen in September). And Kakazu’s chatting with some very well-known Hawaii chefs. “Restaurants are really interested in finding something new that they can’t get easily or that will interest the diners,” he says.

Ultimately he hopes to be able to sell to the public. He would love to have people stop by for greens like at an indoor farmer’s market.

Here’s a look at his Kaka’ako indoor farm:

I was amazed by one man’s single-handed work in creating this little farm. From finding a location to error-proofing methods, planting seeds, germinating them, harvesting produce, delivering and doing all the non-farming behind-the-scenes work, too! Kakazu maintains his website and does his own social media, marketing and sales out of his love of plants and new farming methods, and a passion for sharing them with others.

NOW SELLING – 5/8/2015


Hawaii agency chief says 35% of Kakaako’s housing units ‘affordable’

The 801 South St. project in Kakaako is one of the workforce housing projects being developed in the area. The head of the Hawaii Community Development Authority says 35 percent of the housing being developed in the area are "affordable."

The 801 South St. project in Kakaako is one of the workforce housing projects being developed in the area. The head of the Hawaii Community Development Authority says 35 percent of the housing being developed in the area are “affordable.”

A little more than one-third of the more than 4,200 units being developed in the growing Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako are not being built for the ultra-rich, the head of the Hawaii agency overseeing the redevelopment of the area said Wednesday.

With scores of high-end condominiums being built in Kakaako, much of the talk has centered around local residents being aced out of area because of not being able to afford such sky-high prices.

Anthony Ching, executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, said at the agency’s monthly meeting amongst a brand new board of directors and new office and meeting spaces at the American Brewery Building in Honolulu, said that 35 percent of all housing units in Kakaako will be for qualified income households.

This means that there is a chunk of units in Kakaako that will be reserved for those in two categories, reserved housing and workforce housing.

Reserved housing is for low or moderate income groups. The majority of “affordable housing” in Kakaako falls under this program.

These developments are available to households making anywhere from 30 percent to 140 percent of area median income, which translates to a person with an annual income between $20,150 and $80,950.

Workforce housing, unlike reserved housing, is not a requirement for residential developers under HCDA rules.

To be called a workforce housing project, the requirements are having at least 75 percent of residential units set aside for those earning between 100 percent and 140 percent area median income, which translates to an annual income for one person between $57,800 and $80,950.

Ching recently told PBN that while the condos being built in Kakaako are all high-value properties, each one has different price points and there is strong local purchase.

“Local investors, as well as occupiers, are part of the significant growth of Kakaako,” he said. “We’re focusing on trying to produce rental units — Halekauwila Place is a good example. It was built with tax credits. The tax credit program is responsible for 90 percent of all low-income housing.”

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

The City & County of Honolulu is embarking on a community-based master planning effort for Ala Moana Beach Park so it is a world class park for generations to come. I want to invite you to participate in determining the future of the park. Learn about the park’s rich history, provide input and share this website with your friends and family.


General Growth sells stake in Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center to Australian firm for $907M

General Growth Properties has sold a 25 percent stake in Hawaii's Ala Moana Center to an Australian firm for $907 million.

General Growth Properties has sold a 25 percent stake in Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center to an Australian firm for $907 million.

Ala Moana Center, the largest shopping mall in Hawaii, has a new owner, as Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc., said Monday that it has sold a 25 percent stake in the Honolulu mall to AustralianSuper for about $907 million.

Chicago-based General Growth (NYSE: GGP) also said that it may sell an additional 12.5 equity interest in Ala Moana Center within the next 60 days to fund a pending acquisition.

Under the terms of the deal, General Growth, which owned a 100 percent stake in Ala Moana Center, will now own a 75 percent equity interest in the mall.

Kevin Berry, spokesman for GGP, told PBN that there will be no changes in the day-to-day operations of the mall.

The transaction values the 2.2-million-square-feet Ala Moana Center at about $5.5 billion, the two companies said.

GGP received about $670 million when the deal closed on Friday, with the remaining $237 million being paid in late 2016 after the mall’s Ewa wing redevelopment is completed.

The Chicago real estate investment trust said that it expects to use the funding to repay about $670 million of debt within the next two months.

In January, GGP said it has spent $391.5 million so far on its redevelopment of a former Sears space at Ala Moana Center, which will add more than 340,000 square feet of new retail space.

It also noted in its 2014 earnings report that the $573.2 million project is expected to be finished by the fourth quarter of this year.

Ala Moana Center ranks as one of the top malls in the country when it comes to sales per square foot, tallying $1,360 per square foot annually, which is good for ninth in the United States.

Its more than 290 tenants, occupying 2.1 million square feet, take in a combined total of about $2.86 billion each year.

AustralianSuper is its country’s largest industry super fund, with more than 2 million members and more than $84 billion in Australian funds under management.

PBN reached out to AustralianSuper for comment.

Last week, WP Glimcher, the Ohio-based owner of Pearlridge Center, the state’s second largest shopping mall, sold about half of its interest to an affiliate of New York’s O’Connor Capital Partners for $1.625 billion.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

On January 30, 2015, Ward Village held the second community meeting to discuss the planning for Kewalo Harbor at the Net Shed (Kupu Training Facility) at Kewalo Harbor.

Like the first meeting held in November, nearly 100 community stakeholders and officials attended the presentation. However, the main focus of this meeting was on what Kewalo should be. A short presentation was given, outlining concepts for the master plan that were derived from feedback received from the last meeting. Those concepts became the framework for the master plan’s vision:

Kewalo should be:

Makai – Our Community Gathering Place
Pilina – A connection to the waterfront
Piko – A diverse working harbor
Kauhale – An urban fishing village
Kahakai – A unique beach experience
Kai – A family ocean destination
After the presentation, an ‘open house’ session allowed guests to freely peruse the various plans, sketches and imagery to ask questions and provide additional feedback to the development team.


Honolulu’s Kakaako needs major work at the street level, experts say

Eugene Price, left, owner of PD Technologies, and employee Darren DeMello install vinyl artwork on the side of a building in Kakaako.

Eugene Price, left, owner of PD Technologies, and employee Darren DeMello install vinyl artwork on the side of a building in Kakaako.

Better coordination between landowners, developing a business improvement district and subsidizing retailers were some of the ideas tossed around at a town hall meeting in Downtown Honolulu that focused on the pedestrian experience in the growing Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako.

While much of the talk of Kakaako has been about those tall skyscrapers being built in the area, the subject of the American Institute of Architects Honolulu Chapter’s event Tuesday night focused on what’s below those buildings.

“We need better coordination to avoid patchwork,” said Ralph Portmore, president of Aiea-based PPDS LLC, a planning consulting firm and one of the event’s panelists. “We need to focus more on the how [we get there] and not the what [we can do]. We have an opportunity with Auahi Street to deal with the how, because we have two landowners, The Howard Hughes Corp. and Kamehameha Schools. We need to lock into something.”

He also noted that Kakaako needs a business improvement district, something that pulls together all the stakeholders, including the city and the state.

“Through collaboration, you get more synergy,” said Portmore, who also pointed out that retail is important to the area.

“We need more mom and pop shops, the little places you and I can go to,” he said. “But can they afford the rent? We have reserved housing, but what about reserved rent [for retailers]. Rents need to be lowered in Kakaako. It’s going to take a while to get critical mass there, so you have to populate it with storefronts.”

Andrew Tang, founder and leading designer of Honolulu’s TANGLOBE Design, Architecture & Urbanism and one of the panelists, said that stakeholders can provide a lot of green space, but it’s all about placement.

“We need the ingredients,” he said, referring to three P’s, which include people, profit and planet. “We also need diversity proximity and flexibility [at the street level]. You do see this in Chinatown. A lot of our more successful public spaces are our businesses, managed by private entities, including Bishop Square [in Downtown Honolulu].”

To help give context to the discussion, a three-dimensional model of Kakaako at the scale of 64 feet to the inch has returned for display at the center.

The model was prepared by graduate students at the University of Hawaii School of Architecture to show both existing buildings and the 29 projects proposed in the master plans of The Howard Hughes Corp. and Kamehameha Schools, scheduled for construction during the next 10 years.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

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