Howard Hughes Corp. gets OK to lease Honolulu small boat harbor for 45 years

The Howard Hughes Corp. will take over operations and management of Kewalo Basin Harbor, between Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, for up to 45 years under a lease approved Friday by the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

The Howard Hughes Corp. will take over operations and management of Kewalo Basin Harbor, between Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, for up to 45 years under a lease approved Friday by the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority on Friday voted to allow The Howard Hughes Corp. to lease Kewalo Basin Harbor for up to 45 years in a public-private partnership that could revitalize the small commercial boat harbor between Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki.

Under the lease approved Friday, The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), the Dallas-based developer of the Ward Village master plan across the street from the harbor, will take over operations and management of Kewalo Basin Harbor for a term of up to 35 years, with a 10-year option to extend.

Under the terms, Howard Hughes Corp. will pay the state agency about $500,000 upon execution of the lease in August, and then a base rent until the developer recoups its initial improvement costs, which is estimated to take about 12 years, and HCDA spokeswoman said. After that, the developer will pay a percentage rent of 16.5 percent for the remainder of the initial 35-year term, with the rent rates opening for renegotiation for the 10-year extension period, she said. The developer is expected to pay a total of approximately $14.4 million in base and percentage rent during the first 30 years of the lease, the HCDA said.

Kewalo Basin currently has 144 boat slips in various states of disrepair and is in need of an overhaul, the HCDA, which assumed control of the harbor in 2009, said. The Howard Hughes Corp. has committed to spending millions of dollars to improve the harbor with security upgrades and dock renovations, to benefit the charter boat businesses, fishermen and other harbor users.

“Effective harbor renovations are never cheap or easy, and we recognize Ward Village for stepping up and investing in the future of Kewalo Basin Harbor,” Brian Lee, chairperson of the HCDA, said in a statement. “This lease agreement will allow us to share both the risks and the returns in revitalizing the harbor to serve the community. We will be working together to reconnect Kakaako and all of Honolulu with our waterfront.”

Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development for The Howard Hughes Corp., noted that Victoria Ward sold the fishery of Kukuluaeo to the territory of Hawaii on July 25, 1913.

“As we approach the 101st anniversary of that sale, Ward Village is honored to have the opportunity to revitalize Kewalo Basin Harbor and return the stewardship of a portion of the fishery to Victoria Ward,” Vanderboom said in a statement. “In addition to providing the harbor with much-needed improvements to its facilities, we will also seek to make it a best-in-class community amenity and recreational area for locals and visitors to enjoy, truly connecting Ward Village from mauka to makai.”

Janis L. Magin Managing Editor – Pacific Business News

Howard Hughes Corp.’s second Honolulu luxury tower to start construction in coming months

anaha_01The Howard Hughes Corp. is preparing to start construction in the coming months on its second luxury Honolulu condominium tower called Anaha that is planned for the former Pier 1 Imports location in Kakaako, the senior vice president for the Texas-based firm’s Hawaii operations told PBN.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) said in its first quarter earnings report in March that it had pre-sold 54 percent of the project, which includes 311 units.

“Over the last few months, sales have continued to progress,” Howard Hughes Corp.’s Senior Vice President for Hawaii David Striph told PBN via email.

Last month, the developer broke ground on its Waiea luxury condo tower on a former surface parking lot fronting Ala Moana Boulevard, diagonally across from the Anaha site.

Both towers are part of the developer’s first phase of its Ward Village master plan.

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.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

 

Howard Hughes Corp. breaks ground on Waiea condo tower in Honolulu

From left, David Striph, senior vice president of Hawaii, the Howard Hughes Corp.; David Weinreb, president and CEO, the Howard Hughes Corp.; Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Mayor Kirk Caldwell; and Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development, the Howard Hughes Corp., at the groundbreaking for the Waiea condominium at the Ward Village master-planned community in Honolulu.

From left, David Striph, senior vice president of Hawaii, the Howard Hughes Corp.; David Weinreb, president and CEO, the Howard Hughes Corp.; Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Mayor Kirk Caldwell; and Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development, the Howard Hughes Corp., at the groundbreaking for the Waiea condominium at the Ward Village master-planned community in Honolulu.

Howard Hughes Corp. President and CEO David Weinreb was joined by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell Saturday for the groundbreaking on the Waiea condominium tower at Ward Village in Kakaako Saturday morning, with the governor saying that 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,” Abercrombie said to an audience of dozens that included future residents of the tower. He said the Ward Village represents a collaboration among political, economic and social circles that has never before existed in Hawaii.

If things go according to plan, that future includes two luxury towers— Waiea and Anaha — that will be built by the Howard Hughes Corp. and are geared toward higher-level income residents, as well as other, more affordable condominium towers that will eventually be built. Whole Foods Market (NYSE: WFM) recently announced that it will open a 50,000-square-foot store in Ward Village.

The project will have a total economic impact of $975 million and represents $2 million in annual property taxes for the City and County of Honolulu, said David Striph, senor vice president of Hawaii for the Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC).

Caldwell told PBN that the project has been almost 40 years in the making, since the Hawaii Community Development Authority was founded.

He said about $300 million has been put into infrastructure improvements and that Kakaako is ready for such a large project.

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.

The project represents the beginning of a new era for Honolulu, Caldwell said.

“We are on the cusp of becoming a capital for the Asia-Pacific area,” he said. “A true capital city we can all brag about.”

Bill Cresenzo Reporter – Pacific Business News

ANAHA - Click here for residence details and floor plans

ANAHA – Click here for residence details and floor plans

WAIEA - Click here for residence details and floor plans

WAIEA – Click here for residence details and floor plans

ANAHA TOWER
WAIEA TOWER

Groundbreaking for Howard Hughes Corp.’s Waiea condominium tower in Honolulu slated for Saturday

The Howard Hughes Corp. has reached contractual agreements for about half of the 482 units in its two ultra-luxury high-rises in Honolulu's Kakaako neighborhood— Anaha and Waiea, seen here in this rendering.

The Howard Hughes Corp. has reached contractual agreements for about half of the 482 units in its two ultra-luxury high-rises in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood— Anaha and Waiea, seen here in this rendering.

Groundbreaking for Howard Hughes Corp.’s Waiea condominium tower in Honolulu slated for Saturday

The Howard Hughes Corp. will break ground Saturday on Waiea at Ward Village in Kakaako, the first of two planned luxury condominium towers, where a penthouse is listed for a record $20 million.

The groundbreaking is slated for 10 a.m. at the site. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Carldwell is expected to join Gov. Neil Abercrombie and project officials for the ceremony.

Construction on the condominium tower project at 1118 Ala Moana Blvd. will begin this month.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) says Ward Village will be a mixed-use master-planned development with 4,000 residential units and more than 1 million square feet of retail and commercial space.

Seventy percent of the 171 units in the Waiea tower and 55 percent of the 311 units in the planned Anaha tower diagonally across the street have sold.

Prices at Waiea range from $1 million for a one-bedroom unit to $20 million for a penthouse.

Bill Cresenzo Reporter – Pacific Business News

More towers on the rise – Three developers present the neighborhood board with proposals for a half-dozen new projects

20140529_a1big20140529_progressKakaako is in the middle of a residential tower development wave that builders see as meeting overwhelming homebuyer demand, but some area residents see as crowding their quality of life.

Well, don’t look now, but another wave is on the way.

Three developers have unveiled plans to seek permits later this year for six more residential towers in or on the edge of Kakaako with more than 1,000 new units.

Four of the new towers are part of the Ward Village master plan by Ward Centers owner Howard Hughes Corp. One is part of the Our Kakaako master plan by Kamehameha Schools. And one is adjacent to Ala Moana Center and the city’s planned rail station there.

The six new projects are on top of 15 towers in or on the outskirts of Kakaako with a combined total of roughly 5,400 units under construction, permitted, in permitting or recently completed.

Local housing market analyst Ricky Cassiday said the newest tower plans reflect an eagerness by developers to meet market demand and perhaps get projects approved before state lawmakers have an opportunity next year to change Kakaako development rules in response to public outcries as they did earlier this year.

“Developers like certainty, and change is in the air,” Cassiday said. “There is the political cycle next to the economic cycle.”

Local economists have said that Hawaii population growth is outstripping housing production, and that even 5,000 condominiums delivered over the next two years will make only a dent in the shortage.

Far fewer homes are being built elsewhere in Honolulu — mainly single-family houses and townhomes in the suburbs — making Kakaako ground zero for housing production on Oahu.

Eugene Tian, the state’s chief economist, recently said that 3,525 new homes need to be added on Oahu annually to match an anticipated population growth of 1 percent, assuming 2.8 people per household. Over the past three years, 1,612 residential units were approved for construction per year on average, which leaves a deficit of 1,913 homes.

“We are behind,” Tian said.

Cassiday agrees that there is strong demand from residents forming families, though he also said added demand is coming from part-time residents and investors outside Hawaii.

“There is an inexhaustible demand from abroad,” he said. “Things have been under­supplied for a very long time.”

The most aggressive developer in Kakaako responding to such demand appears to be Hughes Corp. with its Ward Village plan that envisions up to 4,300 residential units in 22 towers covering 60 acres at Ward Centers.

Hughes Corp. has three towers with 915 combined units already approved and slated to begin construction later this year. On Tuesday, the company told the Ala Moana-Kakaako Neighborhood Board that it plans to seek permits later this year for another four towers.

Two of the new Ward Village towers have a combined 230 units, including some low-rise townhomes, and replace most of Ward Warehouse along Ala Moana Boulevard.

Another tower with 220 units would be just Ewa of the Ward Entertainment Center theaters.

A fourth tower with an undetermined number of units is planned next to a recently announced Whole Foods store mauka of the theaters.

This four-tower second phase of Ward Village also includes retail and a large landscaped pedestrian plaza around which the four towers are planned, according to Nick Vanderboom, vice president of development for Hughes Corp.

“This will be the start of what will be about a 4-acre village green connecting Kewalo Basin up to where the future rail stop will be near where Ross is today,” he told the board.

a couple of blocks away, Kamehameha Schools is working with local development firm The Kobayashi Group to build a 265-unit tower on a 3.5-acre site occupied by Cutter Nissan between Ala Moana Boulevard, Koula Street and a closed-off portion of Auahi Street.

Matthew Pennaz, a Kobayashi Group senior project manager, speaking at the same neighborhood board meeting on Tuesday, said the company considers the block the “crown jewel” of nine blocks in the Our Kakaako master plan.

“We’re excited to be part of the community,” he said.

Pennaz said a price range for tower units hasn’t been determined yet. Cassiday, however, said a tower on that site most certainly would be a luxury product.

Both the Our Kakaako tower and Ward Village towers will need approval from the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency regulating development in Kakaako.

Existing residents in the area, many of whom live in condos next to proposed towers, have complained about the agency “rushing” public hearings on tower permits over the past couple of years, and contend that more towers can’t be supported by infrastructure such as roads and sewers.

HCDA officials insist that sufficient sewer capacity was created to handle all the proposed development under a 4-decade-old vision to concentrate dense urban development in Kakaako that relieves pressure on rural and agricultural lands on Oahu.

The city considers sewer and water connection requests per project, and has approved all of them to date.

The developers will need to produce traffic studies and mitigation plans. The projects are likely to slow traffic in the area, but not to an extent that would keep them from proceeding, based on past decisions regarding other developments.

The issue of rapid development in Kakaako led to several bills introduced in January at the Legislature, including one calling for a moratorium on development in the area and one abolishing HCDA. Only one bill passed, and will reconstitute the agency’s board of directors next year among other more minor changes.

Larry Hurst, area neighborhood board chairman, is supportive of HCDA’s mission established by the Legislature in 1976.

“All those years ago, Kakaako was (thought of as) the place to get people to live in the (primary urban core),” he said. “When it finally comes (close to happening), only the newbies start talking. I ask people, ‘Where have you been for 37 years?’ It’s like, you can’t move in next to a hospital and then start complaining about the ambulance.”

The third new project presented to the neighborhood board Tuesday is a 234-unit tower slated at 1391 Kapiolani Blvd. next to Ala Moana Center a block Ewa of the Nordstrom store fronting Kapiolani, Kona Street and Kona Iki Street just outside Kakaako’s Piikoi Street border.

In 2007, an affiliate of South Korea-based SamKoo Development Co. Ltd. bought the 1.4-acre site that formerly hosted a car dealership and announced plans for a luxury condo tower. However, Hawaii’s real estate market was approaching a turndown in the face of a recession and the project was put on hold.

Lowell Chun, a consultant for SamKoo, told the board that the developer has revised its plan to fit with the city’s new rail station that will be the Honolulu terminus of the line from Kapolei.

“It’s a rail line anchor,” he said. “It’s a destination.”

Chun said SamKoo is offering to provide a slice of its property along Kona Street for rail use, and would like to create a public area with commercial shops on the tower site integrated with the city’s rail station.

“We are right there,” he said. “What we would like to create is a landmark building for this landmark location — something that signifies that this is someplace special.”

Chun said SamKoo hopes to submit a permit application with the city within the next few months under interim transit-oriented development rules pending before the City Council, provided the rules are adopted.

A maximum height under interim rules being considered would be 450 feet, up from the site’s existing 250-foot limit, though Chun said the 1391 Kapiolani tower is planned to rise 420 feet.

The Neighborhood Board did not vote on the projects.

Developers of the three projects all expect to seek permits this year but did not project construction timetables if their towers are approved.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/newspremium/20140529_MORE_TOWERSONTHERISE.html?id=261062511&c=n

Five new tenants prepare to open at Honolulu’s Ward Centers

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, opening Friday in the former Grand Leyenda Cantina space at Ward Centre is one of five new tenants opening at Honolulu's Ward Centers in the next two months.

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, opening Friday in the former Grand Leyenda Cantina space at Ward Centre is one of five new tenants opening at Honolulu’s Ward Centers in the next two months.

Five new tenants prepare to open at Honolulu’s Ward Centers

Jenna Blakely Reporter – Pacific Business News

Five new tenants are preparing to open their doors at Ward Centers in Honolulu, adding a mix of eateries and clothing retailers to the shopping center that is being transformed into the master-planned community called Ward Village.

Three of the five new tenants are opening by the end of May, beginning with Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, opening Friday, located above Genki Sushi at Ward Centre in the former E&O Trading Co. space.

Other tenants opening by the end of May include Waiola Shave Ice, which is planning its third Hawaii location at Ward Warehouse across from Dairy Queen. in the former Island Gold Collection space. Also opening this month is The Monarch Tea Room, which will be located inside Na Mea Hawaii Native Books at Ward Warehouse.

Next month, And More By Local Fever — Jeans Warehouse Inc.’s largest store spanning 20,000 square feet of space — will offer fashion, home, accessories and more with 15 different departments, located in the former Nordstrom Rack location next to Office Depot.

Later this summer, Big Island Delights will relocate its location from Ward Centre to Ward Warehouse, located in the space formerly occupied by C. June Shoes.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), which owns Ward Centers, is also developing the master-planned Ward Village community, where two mixed-use residential towers — Waiea and Anaha — will be built in the first phase.

Early in May, The Howard Hughes Corp. said that it reached contractual agreements for about half of the 482 units in its two ultra-luxury high rises that began pre-sales in February. Construction of the Anaha and Waiea towers is on track to break ground this summer, as PBN reported.

The Howard Hughes Corp. reports strong sales for two ultra-luxury high-rise condominiums in Kakaako

The Howard Hughes Corp. has reached contractual agreements for about half of the 482 units in its two ultra-luxury high-rises in Honolulu's Kakaako neighborhood— Anaha and Waiea, seen here in this rendering.

The Howard Hughes Corp. has reached contractual agreements for about half of the 482 units in its two ultra-luxury high-rises in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood— Anaha and Waiea, seen here in this rendering.

The Howard Hughes Corp. reports strong sales for two ultra-luxury high-rise condominiums in Kakaako

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

The Howard Hughes Corp. has reached contractual agreements for about half of the 482 units in its two ultra-luxury high-rises in Kakaako — Anaha and Waiea — part of its Ward Village master-planned community, according to its first-quarter earnings report released Thursday.

“We are pleased with the sales progress to date, which is proceeding according to our expectations for the high-quality residences we are developing,” the Texas-based developer said.

It also has received $55 million in buyer deposits, representing about $609 million of gross sales revenue for the two high-rises, which began pre-sales in February. The gross sales revenue assumes that buyers will close on the units when they are completed.

Construction of the two towers is expected to get underway this summer.

Meanwhile, construction for ONE Ala Moana, a 206-unit ultra-luxury condominium tower being developed in a 50/50 joint venture involving The Howard Hughes Corp., The MacNaughton Group and the Kobayashi Group., is now 52 percent complete with an expected opening in the fourth quarter, the Howard Hughes Corp. said.

New Whole Foods Market in Kakaako will be part of larger commercial and residential development

The proposed location of Whole Foods Kakaako is on the corner of Queen and Kamakee Streets.

The proposed location of Whole Foods Kakaako is on the corner of Queen and Kamakee Streets.

May 7, 2014, 6:30am HST UPDATED: May 7, 2014, 1:07pm HST
New Whole Foods Market in Kakaako will be part of larger commercial and residential development

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

The flagship Whole Foods Market planned for Ward Village in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood will be part of a new mixed-use development by The Howard Hughes Corp. that will cover the entire block at Queen and Kamakee streets, a company spokesman told PBN.

Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development for the Texas-based developer, who is based in Hawaii, told PBN that construction of the retail and residential spaces may be done in phases. He said he could not provide more details about the residential component, which likely will include high-rise condominiums.

The project would be in addition to the two ultra-luxury condominium high-rises— Anaha and Waiea — that are being planned for the area and also are being developed by The Howard Hughes Corp.

On Tuesday, Whole Foods Market said in its quarterly earnings report that it will open a fourth store in Hawaii, and its third on Oahu, as part of its future growth and development plans throughout the U.S.

The new Honolulu store will be located in the space currently occupied by an Office Depot and a former Nordstrom Rack behind the Ward Theatres complex. The 50,000-square-foot store, which will be the company’s largest location in the state, is slated to begin construction next year and be completed in 2017.

Last year, The Howard Hughes Corp. began the transformation of Ward Centers into Ward Village, an urban master-planned community that will include approximately 4,000 residential units and more than 1 million square feet of retail and commercial space.

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.

High-Rises’ Design Inspired by the Ocean

Two new high-rises in Ward Village look to the sea for inspiration.
BY A. KAM NAPIER

The Waiea condominium tower will be built on the site of a parking lot (1 on the picture), while Anaha will take the former Pier I site (labelled as 2). The yellow highlight indicates the Howard Hughes properties in Kakaako. Photos: Images Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corporation

The Waiea condominium tower will be built on the site of a parking lot (1 on the picture), while Anaha will take the former Pier I site (labelled as 2). The yellow highlight indicates the Howard Hughes properties in Kakaako.
Photos: Images Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corporation

It’s not your imagination, Honolulu is packed with high-rises. In fact, it ranks sixth in the United States —right behind San Francisco—and 30th in the world among cities with the most skyscrapers, according to Emporis, a building-industry information clearinghouse.

Since statehood, high-rise condominiums have evolved from concrete towers with prominent lanai into shiny, smooth, glass towers such as Hokua or the Moana Vista. Some look better than others, but one thing none of them do particularly well is tell a story through architecture. That’s about to change with the first two luxury condos that Howard Hughes Corp. will be building in its Ward Village redevelopment. They won’t just offer ocean views, they’ll draw their inspiration from the ocean.

Waiea, at 1118 Ala Moana (currently the parking lot across from Ward Theatres), will tap into the area’s fishing history, while kitty-corner from it, at 1108 Auahi St. (formerly Pier 1), Anaha will reflect the ocean in a figurative as well as literal way, with windows and lanai set in undulating rhythms to resemble a procession of waves at sea catching the light. Anaha is designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz out of San Francisco with local partner Ben Woo Architects.

Strachan Forgan, an associate principal at SCB, says Anaha’s effect will be achieved by “interlocking and alternating softly curved floorplates, wrapped in a smooth glass skin. This composition is reminiscent of the play between the crests and troughs of an open-ocean wave (and) the reflection of light will constantly alter as the viewpoint and environmental conditions change.”

“The abstraction of waves is common in the Islands’ artistic traditions,” SCB says, and the firm aims for Anaha to contribute to that architecturally. Anaha also needed to fit in with the Ward Village master plan, so, while the abstracted waves of the tower speak to the area’s historic ties to the ocean, its ground floors fill the site, per the plan, with apartment flats and shops, offering, “a unique streetscape and interaction with the retail along Kamakee Street.” Says Forgan, “The opening created between these geometries creates a vibrant focal point approaching the lobby.”

For Waiea’s Canadian architect, James K.M. Cheng, the realization that the original shoreline passes right through Waiea’s site was pivotal to the building’s design. “That got us thinking about how to have a geological relationship with the site as well as a connection to Hawaiian folklore,” he says.

The geological relationship will come through in the way the three main masses of the building – high-rise tower, low-rise townhouses and parking structure – will seem to rise up out of reflecting pools and lava rock, as if they were islands themselves. For Cheng, however, the ocean represents a potential threat to the building as well as an inspiration.

“We’re aware of the possibility of sea-level rise, that in 50 years it could be higher than today, so all the life-sustaining equipment in the building is placed above grade,” he says. Along the makai side of the building, concrete walls that provide privacy for townhouse residents are also meant to protect the building from possible storm surges.

The top-to-bottom glass skin of a modern high-rise is called a curtain wall because it hangs like a curtain from the steel and concrete structure of the building. On Waiea, the glass will look like a curtain frozen in mid-billow, though the designers would prefer if you thought of it as a fishing net.

Honolulu architect Rob Iopa, president of WCIT Architecture, collaborated with Cheng on the design of Waiea, for which he did extensive research into the area’s history and legends.

In brief, there was a deity for fishing and ocean activities named Kuulakai, who possessed magical fishing tools and who had a son named Aiai. Kuulakai passed his knowledge on to Aiai, and, when the time came for Kuulakai to leave earthly life, he left his fishing tools to Aiai and instructed him to go from island to island establishing fishponds. Aiai did exactly that, finally settling in Kakaako, where he had a son of his own, Puniaiki, who helped Aiai develop fishponds.

The fishery just off the original shoreline in the area was known as Kukuluaeo, which is the name of the Hawaiian stilt, a long-legged bird that lives at the shoreline.

The legend plays out in the design of Waiea: the taller residential tower represents Kuula-kai, the lower represents Aiai and the gentle folds of the glass curtain wall is their net. Says Iopa, “Like Kuulakai and Aiai once did, the building stands in the tidal pools of the water’s edge, net draped, patiently waiting and ever searching.”

Before Western contact, Kakaako was filled with inland fishponds, salt pans, marshes and kalo loi, in addition to the thriving fisheries.

Landfill between the 1840s and 1880s eventually turned everything from the original shoreline all the way to the inner reef into solid land. The widest fill is everything between Ala Moana boulevard and Kakaako Waterfront Park. While the shoreline changed, things changed dramatically for Native Hawaiians, who once crowded into a shantytown called Squattersville on this new landfill until the area was cleared for a city incinerator.

Victoria and Curtis Perry Ward and their daughters then owned everything from Thomas Square to the shore, completing an elegant home called the Old Plantation in 1881 (torn down in 1958 to make way for the Blaisdell Center). In 1919, Kewalo Harbor was dredged, and became home to lumber schooners, then fleets of Japanese fishing sampans. Then light industry and retail came to the area.

Now Howard Hughes Corp., with the help of cultural advisors such as Iopa, is infusing its Ward Village redevelopment with nonstop Hawaiian terms, history and cultural concepts. Waiea means “water of life.” Anaha means “reflection of light.” Marketing material for Ward Village talks a lot about modern-day ahupuaa, as if it were possible to go directly from hale pili to high-rises.

And yet, it really is crafting a village. As dense as Kakaako is and seemingly packed with people, it’s a bit shocking when Race Randle, director of development for Howard Hughes, reminds me that, in the 60 acres it is redeveloping, there are currently no actual residents.

“It’s all commercial right now,” he says. When the redevelopment is complete, with its 20 new towers over the next 10 or 20 years, there will be 4,000 families in the area. “It would take 800 acres of green field in Ewa to house that many people.”

These first two towers, on which construction will start this year, are definitely statement buildings. Studio apartments at Anaha start in the $470,000s and one-bedroom units at Waiea start at $1.5 million. Waiea also features a penthouse with four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and 4,000 square feet of space.* Part of what they’re asserting is an environmental sensitivity throughout the Ward Village concept. So far, so good. In late November, the Ward Village project – the entire 60-acre master plan – was awarded a LEED Neighborhood Design Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, for sustainability as a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood. It’s the nation’s largest such project and the only platinum-certified project in Hawaii, the design team says. LEED certifications for individual projects such as Waiea and Anaha will be pursued as they’re built.

The plan also calls for each tower to have a different team of mainland and local architects, to bring variety to the neighborhood. It would not be surprising, though, if many of the projects have Iopa’s indirect fingerprints, as he has consulted on the master plan itself.

As for his work on Waiea, he says, “We are excited by the opportunity to participate and contribute to tall-building architecture that says, ‘Design does matter.’ ” 

http://www.hawaiibusiness.com/Hawaii-Business/February-2014/High-Rises-Design-Inspired-by-the-Ocean/

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