Kakaako has infrastructure for condos, mayor says

Officiating at the Waiea condominium groundbreaking were, from left, David Striph and David Weinreb of the Howard Hughes Corp., Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu.

Officiating at the Waiea condominium groundbreaking were, from left, David Striph and David Weinreb of the Howard Hughes Corp., Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu.

Kakaako has the necessary infrastructure to handle more than 20 new high-rise condominium towers and the retail development that will surround them, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says.

Caldwell made his assurances during a groundbreaking for the Waiea condominium tower at Ward Village last weekend.

He said about $300 million has been invested in infrastructure improvements and that Kakaako is ready for high-rise development. He also pointed to a couple of towers that dot the skyline as examples of affordable housing in the neighborhood, in response to a question about whether people could afford to live in the area. He added that Kakaako will have plenty of green space.

Caldwell was joined by Howard Hughes Corp. President and CEO David Weinreb and Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Abercrombie said the massive residential, commercial and retail community will be like nothing Hawaii has seen before.

“Respect the past, but live in the present in order to create the future,” he told attendees, who included future residents of the Waiea tower, which is being built across from Ward Theatres.

He said Ward Village represents a collaboration among political, economic and social circles that has never before existed in Hawaii.

If things go according to plan, two luxury towers — Waiea and Anaha — will be built by the Howard Hughes Corp. and geared toward higher-income residents, but other, more affordable condominium towers also will be built. Also, Whole Foods Market intends to open a 50,000-square-foot store in Ward Village, just a few steps from the two towers.

The Waiea project will have a total economic impact of $925 million and generate $2 million in annual property taxes for the City and County of Honolulu, said David Striph, senior vice president of Hawaii for the Howard Hughes Corp.

Weinreb told PBN that the biggest challenge was assimilating the needs of the community into the project.

Abercrombie told PBN that seniors will enjoy living in a place where they can walk wherever they need to go.

Bill Cresenzo Reporter – Pacific Business News

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