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.

Penthouse in Howard Hughes’ Ward project in Honolulu priced at record $50M

Dec 12, 2013, 2:59pm HST UPDATED: Dec 13, 2013, 10:24am HST
Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

The Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.'s Ward Village in Honolulu has a penthouse priced at $50 million — a record asking price for a new condominium unit in Hawaii.

The Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Honolulu has a penthouse priced at $50 million — a record asking price for a new condominium unit in Hawaii.

A penthouse with its own swimming pool in one of The Howard Hughes Corp.’s planned luxury condominiums in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood is priced at $50 million — a record for the highest asking price ever for a new condominium unit in Hawaii, according to a Honolulu Realtor.

The building will include about 170 market-rate one-, two- and three-bedroom units, as well as 10 townhomes.

The $50 million pricetag for the penthouse is far above asking prices for other luxury units currently under development.

Some units at the 37-story Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach condo-hotel are priced as high as $15 million. Meantime, penthouse suites at the 23-story, 206-unit One Ala Moana ultra-luxury condominium that’s being built atop the parking garage of Nordstrom’s Ala Moana Center store, were priced as high as $10 million.

The other Ward Village tower, being called “Anaha,” located at the northeast corner of Auahi and Kamakee streets at the former Pier 1 Imports location, is expected to be in the luxury range, commanding up to $1,400 a square foot.

It will include about 310 one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with 82 apartments and townhomes.

Sales for both towers are expected to begin in late January for the general public.

A third tower, which will be 38 stories high and will include 424 affordable units at the site of the old Kanpai Bar and Grill on Ward Avenue, also is in the works.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) plans to add more than 900 residential units in the first phase of its Ward master plan, which represents more than $1.25 billion in economic impact and thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Oahu, according to a study by ALH Urban & Regional Economics.

Through a spokeswoman, The Howard Hughes Corp. said that the launch date for sales of these two condos is set for early 2014, and that the price ranges are not yet publicly available.

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