Howard Hughes says construction of Honolulu luxury condos to start in summer

Mar 6, 2014, 2:53pm HST
Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

A penthouse in the proposed Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.'s Ward Village in Honolulu, seen in this rendering has a price tag of $20 million, the developer said Friday.

A penthouse in the proposed Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Honolulu, seen in this rendering has a price tag of $20 million, the developer said Friday.

The Howard Hughes Corp.’s two ultra-luxury condominium high-rises in Kakaako, which began the sales process last month, is expected to start construction this summer, the Texas-based developer said in its 2013 annual report to shareholders.

Thus far, The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) has spent $17.1 million on the development of the two towers, named Anaha and Waiea, which will add nearly 500 residential units to the Honolulu market, including a penthouse with an asking price of $20 million, a record for the highest asking price ever for a new condo unit in Hawaii.

The Howard Hughes Corp. plans to add more than 900 residential units in the first phase of its Ward master plan, which includes these two mixed-use high-rises.

The developer also said in its annual report that it sold its rights to its 50/50 development joint venture for $47.5 million in the ONE Ala Moana ultra-luxury condo project, which is under construction atop the Nordstrom parking garage at Ala Moana Center.

The 206-unit ONE Ala Moana project is being developed by HHMK Development, which includes The MacNaughton and Kobayashi Group, as well as The Howard Hughes Corp., and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

LUXURY condominium Waiea to be built at Ward Village.

The owner of Ward Centers is preparing to open a public sales gallery soon for the first two of 22 planned condominium towers envisioned to transform 60 acres of Kaka­ako into a largely residential community called Ward Village. But one big, eye-popping detail will be missing among all the marketing materials.

Capture06That would be the asking price for the “grand penthouse” in the more luxurious of the two initial towers where the cheapest unit starts at about $1.5 million.

As it is sketched out, the grand penthouse will span the top two floors of the 36-story tower named Waiea to be built makai of the movie theaters at Ward Centers on the corner of Kama­kee Street and Ala Moana Boulevard overlooking Ala Moana Beach Park.

The living area is programmed for seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms and two half-bathrooms — 21,182 square feet in all if you include the 3,661-square-foot lanai fronting an infinity-edge pool.

Just the maintenance fee for the unit’s owner to help pay for general tower operating expenses is estimated at $19,521 per month, or about $234,000 a year, according to a disclosure report filed with the state Real Estate Commission.

Local real estate agents believe Waiea’s grand penthouse would be the biggest and priciest in Hawaii.

By comparison, the biggest penthouse in the One Ala Moana luxury condo under construction atop the Nordstrom parking garage at Ala Moana Center is about 4,100 square feet and is under contract with buyer for $10 million — a record price for a residential high-rise unit in Hawaii.

Many industry observers expect Waiea’s grand penthouse will break the record. But by how much?That’s more uncertain.

Trevor Benn, president of local brokerage firm Benn Pacific Group, said he has no doubt a record will be shattered if Waiea’s grand penthouse is sold. “Ten million is probably the cost to build it,”he said.

Some local real estate agents who attended the recent brokers event hosted by Waiea’s broker, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, have talked about the asking price for the unit being $50 million.

Howard Hughes Corp., the developer of Waiea and Ward Village, contends that $50 million isn’t the asking price. The company said the source of the figure was a broker in Japan who published incorrect information about the unit online that got repeated at the event for local brokers.

“It was just a mistake,”said David Striph, senior vice president in Hono­lulu for Texas-based Hughes Corp.

So what’s the true list price?Striph would not say. He said the price is to be discreetly shared with potential buyers in a more exclusive marketing effort. “It’s not going to be a broad-marketed unit,”he said.

If the grand penthouse were priced in straight relation to its maintenance fee, which is about 15 times greater than Waiea’s smallest unit, it would cost $22.5 million.

Whatever the price is, if it doesn’t go over well with prospective buyers, then Hughes Corp. has an option to restructure the space into multiple smaller penthouse units perhaps similar to the 10 other penthouses slated for Waiea ranging from 2,320 to 7,418 square feet for which Striph declined to share prices.

The super-luxury condo trend includes a tower called The Mansions at Acqualina being built in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., near Miami where the developer is asking $55 million for a 16,000-square-foot penthouse dubbed Palazzo d’Oro with 360-degree ocean views.

In Hong Kong a buyer paid about $55 million in 2012 for a new 6,755-square-foot unit in the Opus Hong Kong building designed by famed architect Frank Gehry on a bluff overlooking downtown towers and Victoria Harbour.

New York City is at another level, with developers asking and receiving close to $100 million for expansive units with towering views. At a 90-story Manhattan tower named One57, two penthouses between 11,000 square feet and 14,000 square feet are reportedly under contract for about $90 million each, while a rival tower called 432 Park has sold its top penthouse for $95 million.

“There’s a trend in big cities all over the world to do these larger units,”Striph said.

Preview of Howard Hughes 1118 Ala Moana and 1108 Auahi

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CEO says Howard Hughes Corp. still working on best mix for Honolulu development

Oct 2, 2013, 2:52pm HST Updated: Oct 2, 2013, 4:22pm HST
Duane Shimogawa  |  Reporter- Pacific Business News

The Howard Hughes Corp. plans to build a 400-foot market-priced condominium tower with about 325 units and commercial space on this corner of Auahi and Kamakee streets in Kakaako. Pier 1 Imports is getting ready to move to a new space in the Ward Village Shops along Auahi Street.

The Howard Hughes Corp. plans to build a 400-foot market-priced condominium tower with about 325 units and commercial space on this corner of Auahi and Kamakee streets in Kakaako. Pier 1 Imports is getting ready to move to a new space in the Ward Village Shops along Auahi Street.

The head of The Howard Hughes Corp., one of the bigger private developers of Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood, said Wednesday that the company is determining what the best and right mix is for its second phase of its $7.5 billion Ward Village master plan.

“Some will be dependent on retail tenants,” said David Weinreb, CEO of the Dallas-based developer. “There will be a feeling of a community and of a village.”

Weinreb, who was in Waikiki for Hawaii Business Magazine’s event honoring the top 250 businesses in Hawaii. presented by First Hawaiian Bank, spoke to a small group of Honolulu media members after the event and made it known that although there are a number of areas to develop in Hawaii, his firm is solely focused on Kakaako and committed to Honolulu.

“[We plan on] building a base here to go beyond us,” he said.

Weinreb, who comes to Hawaii every three to four weeks, even intends on purchasing one of the more than 4,000 units planned in its Ward Village master plan.

In August, the Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) got the green light from the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency charged with overseeing the redevelopment of Kakaako, for two of its mixed-use condominium towers at Ward Village, the first phase of its master plan for the area.

This first phase includes 900 residential units as well as a mostly affordable residential tower at 404 Ward Ave., which also received HCDA approval.

Sales for the first phase of the Ward Village residential projects will be starting soon.

Howard Hughes Corp expects pre-sales to start soon for Honolulu condos

Nov 7, 2013, 2:50pm HST
Duane Shimogawa |  Reporter- Pacific Business News

AuhaiCaptureThe Howard Hughes Corp. said Thursday that it expects to begin pre-sales of its first three residential condominium towers in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood by the end of this year, or early next year, as it awaits Real Estate Commission’s approval of its condo documents.

The Texas-based developer noted in its third-quarter earnings report that it anticipates receiving the Real Estate Commission’s approval by the end of this year.

Development permit applications and detailed plans for the first phase of its Ward Village master plan, which includes the first three residential towers, were approved by the Hawaii Community Development Authority in the third quarter

Thus far, The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) said it has incurred pre-development costs of about $11.9 million as of September, for the first phase of the master plan, which includes 4,000 residential units and up to 1.7 million square feet of retail, office, commercial and other uses with full build-out expected to take more than 15 years.

The first phase incudes the renovation of the IBM Building and the development of about 482 condo units in two mixed-use towers to be completed in 2016, and another residential tower with workforce units having sales prices lower than market rate.

The redevelopment of the IBM Building into an information center and residential sales gallery for the entire project, which began in the first quarter, is on schedule for completion by the end of this year with an anticipated cost of $24.4 million, The Howard Hughes Corp. said.

As of September, the developer said that it spent about $13.4 million on that project.

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