Holiday ice skating rink planned for Howard Hughes project in Hawaii

Workers prepare for a private grand opening of the newly renovated IBM building.

Workers prepare for a private grand opening of the newly renovated IBM building.

Although The Howard Hughes Corp. has had similar open-air ice rinks at some of its Mainland properties, including Summerlin in Las Vegas, company representatives say the one that will be built at Ward Village in Honolulu will serve as the company’s first ice rink that will be operated in tropical weather.

The Howard Hughes Corp. applied for a building permit with the City and County of Honolulu on Oct. 6 for a public ice-skating rink at the former IBM building, with an estimated value of $200,000.

With less than a month left to the start of this year’s holiday shopping season, The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Honolulu plans to roll out something new this year to get shoppers into the spirit: a public outdoor ice skating rink adjacent to the developer’s retail properties in Hawaii.

The Howard Hughes Corp. confirmed to PBN on Wednesday that Ice Rink Events, a Conroe, Texas-based producer of seasonal public ice-skating rinks, will manage a 4,200-square-foot ice skating rink that the company will construct at the former IBM Building, which now serves as the sales and information center for its Ward Village master-planned community in Kakaako, that will open on the day after Thanksgiving, better known as Black Friday.

Darin Moriki
Pacific Business News

The IBM Building’s unique design is a clever way to keep birds off, cool the building and reflect its namesake’s legacy


The IBM Building’s unique design is a clever way to keep birds off, cool the building and reflect its namesake’s legacy

June, 2015

It’s true,” says David Striph, senior VP for the Howard Hughes Corp. and the man occupying a corner office with two walls of windows framed by the iconic concrete arches of Honolulu’s IBM Building. “I sit here every day and birds really don’t perch there, or nest there.”

And they don’t poop there. To prove the point, we both took a good look around and, sure enough, no evidence of fowl play.

Hawaii’s renowned architect Vladimir Ossipoff wasn’t just thinking about birds when he designed the building in 1962 with a casted concrete flourish. His inspiration was both practical and historical: keep the birds away, create a sun screen to keep the building cool and design it to look like the computer punched cards then synonymous with IBM and computing history.

An architectural feature formally known as brise soleil, the casted concrete design deflects sunlight, while retaining the ocean and mountain views. Does it keep the building cool? “That’s true, too,” says David Akinaka of Ferraro Choi, a building tenant and the architect selected to restore the building. Ossipoff is celebrated for being ahead of his time, focusing on the connection between architecture and landscape, and, according to Akinaka, they have lowered A/C usage to prove it.

When Howard Hughes acquired the building, it was almost as old as those punched cards, and headed for a similar fate. “The previous owners had planned to take it down,” Striph says, “but we got here and found many in the community committed to saving it, so we started reimagining what it might be.”

To illustrate how the building had lost its luster, Akinaka and Striph both talked about the faded pink carpet on the walls of each floor’s elevator lobby, an interior design style once hip, but now decidedly dated and shabby. While much of the $25 million restoration includes back-of-house infrastructure, wood and stone surfaces to replace the pink carpet, and modernized finishes, it’s the first floor common areas that keep people buzzing.

“We turned a parking lot into a venue,” Striph says, pointing out that the seemingly random paving stones and grass design of the courtyard are actually a mirrored image of the iconic brise soliel and the lanai doors – flush with the courtyard – slide open to create an enchanting gathering place.

Regulars to the building always encourage first timers to check out the restroom. A playful design that includes a shared washstand area and frosted glass walls separating the men’s and women’s toilets, Akinaka describes it as a space designed to break down barriers and create a provocative gathering place. “But no Tinder matchups there yet,” he adds, “at least that we know of.”

IBM remains a tenant of the historic building, occupying much of the fourth floor, and its name remains on the building’s exterior. “Replacing the IBM with the Howard Hughes logo came up in the design phase,” Akinaka says. “But the Howard Hughes folks were adamant: ‘No no no. It’s the IBM Building.’ ” And so it remains, outlasting the punched cards and still keeping the birds away.

The Howard Hughes Corporation announced its “forWARD” vision for Ward Village


IMB_buildingThe Howard Hughes Corporation announced its “forWARD” vision for Ward Village in October 2012, revealing plans to create a vibrant neighborhood offering unique retail experiences, exceptional residences and affordable housing set among dynamic public open spaces and pedestrian-friendly streets. Ward Village will incorporate principles of sustainability and cultural respect that honor the rich history of the land. The project is planned to be built out over the next decade. When complete, Ward Village will double its retail, dining and entertainment space, providing a compelling mix of local neighborhood shops, restaurants and national retailers to serve locals and visitors alike.

In preparation for the renovation, The Howard Hughes Corporation has been working to provide assistance to tenants affected by the project who are moving to other locations within Ward Centers.

The Howard Hughes Corporation owns, manages and develops commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate throughout the U.S. Our properties include master planned communities, operating properties, development opportunities and other unique assets spanning 18 states from New York to Hawai‘i. The Howard Hughes Corporation is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as HHC and is headquartered in Dallas, TX.

For additional information about HHC, visit

Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts, including statements accompanied by words such as “will,” “believe,” “expect,” “enables,” “realize,” “plan,” “intend,” “transform” and other words of similar expression, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management’s expectations, estimates, assumptions and projections as of the date of this release and are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are set forth as risk factors in The Howard Hughes Corporation’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Quarterly and Annual Reports. The Howard Hughes Corporation cautions you not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. The Howard Hughes Corporation does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events, information or circumstances that arise after the date of this release.

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