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

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union buys Kakaako property for new flagship branch

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, which recently bought Acme Fender & Paint Shop's property in Kakaako, plans to build a new flagship branch on that property.

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, which recently bought Acme Fender & Paint Shop’s property in Kakaako, plans to build a new flagship branch on that property.

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, the second-largest credit union in the state, recently purchased the former Acme Fender & Paint Shop property in Kakaako, where it plans to build its new flagship branch not too far away from its current Honolulu location, the head of the company told PBN.

Andrew Rosen, president and CEO of Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, whose main branch is located at 560 Halekauwila St., said that the new facility will house its retail functions.

The new branch will be located on a ground level with two floors of parking above it.

“With the population growing in Kakaako, we will have a lot of new users using our branch,” he told PBN. “A rail transit station will be nearby, so there will be a lot of foot traffic as well. We want to make sure we have a modern branch that addresses our own growth as well as the areas growth.”

The plan is to keep its existing five-story building for administrative functions with the new facility helping to deal with the expansion of the company.

“We have expanded in some new business lines,” Rosen said. “We’re back in the mortgage business and now we’re doing more financial advisory and investment services. In the last year, we’ve hired 20 new employees.”

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union paid $3.85 million for the property, according to public records and the broker who handled the deal, Kevin Nishikawa, vice president and Realtor for Honolulu-based Marcus & Associates Inc.

Rosen said that Acme Fender & Paint Shop, which remains open, will continue to lease the property from Hawaii State Federal Credit Union until construction on the new building begins.

He said that it is still working on the final plans on the new facility, but hopes to start construction sometime next year.

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union trails only HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union, in terms of most members and highest amount of assets in the state.

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, which currently has eight branches across the state and more than 50 shared-branch locations in Hawaii and Las Vegas, has 231 employees and about 80,000 members, according to a corporate fact sheet as of March 31. It was established in 1936 and has $1.3 billion in assets.

PBN first reported that Acme Fender & Paint Shop’s owner, Dwayne Nasu, had put his Kakaako property for sale with plans to close the business when it sold.

The asking price for the four 3,000-square-foot parcels at 585 Halekauwila St. was $5 million.

Nasu along with other small landowners in Kakaako were featured in a PBN cover story last year, discussing the quandary they face, either to sell or stay as the area adds thousands of residents and a slew of high-rises in a redevelopment of Oahu’s “Third City.”

He is part of the second generation of the family business, which started when he was just 3 years old.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

Condominium prices in Honolulu’s Ala Moana-Kakaako area shoot up almost 60%

Prices of condominiums and single-family homes on Oahu rose across the board from March through May, with condo prices jumping almost 60 percent in Honolulu’s Ala Moana and Kakaako areas, according to a report from Prudential Locations.

The Prudential Locations report looked at prices of single-family homes in 15 Oahu neighborhoods and at condos in 15 neighborhoods. It found that the median price of a single-family home rose 3.3 percent during the three-month period to $650,500, from $630,000 during the same period in 2013. Sales increased 7 percent to 836 homes sold, from 781 sold during the same period in 2013.

The median price of a condo rose 9.2 percent to $350,0000, from $325,000 last year. Sales declined by 3.1 percent to 1,302 units sold, from 1,343 units sold during the same period last year.

In Ala Moana-Kakaako, the median condo price rose 59 percent to $595,000, from $375,000 last year, the report says.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) recently broke ground on its high-end Waiea Tower i n Ward Village in Kakaako, where current prices range for a penthouse range from $4 million to $20 million.

For single-family homes, the biggest increase was in Waialae-Kahala, where the price of a home rose 10.4 percent to $1.8 million, from $1.6 million last year.

Bill Cresenzo Reporter – Pacific Business News

Building boom begins to slow down


The 801 South Street project on the site of the former Honolulu Advertiser Building is among the developments that are moving forward.

The 801 South Street project on the site of the former Honolulu Advertiser Building is among the developments that are moving forward.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

With 4,386 residential units under construction, permitted or pending approval in Kakaako, the state agency overseeing the redevelopment of Honolulu’s so-called Third City is noticing a slowdown in the current condominium boom.

“You can already tell the market is slowing down,” said Hawaii Community Development Authority spokeswoman Lindsey Doi. “Developers did what they wanted to do. We can’t predict the future, but it kind of seems like we saw the peak last year. We’re thinking that was the most.”

Four residential projects totaling 1,568 units are under construction, including Alexander & Baldwin’s 341-unit Waihonua at Kewalo and OliverMcMillan’s 388-unit Symphony Honolulu.

A&B’s 467-unit The Collection and The Howard Hughes Corp.’s three condos totaling 919 units are on the list of permitted projects.

Rick Stack, A&B’s senior vice president of development, said the company has no specific timetable for construction.

“Timing will depend on a variety of factors, including achieving acceptable presales and completing the regulatory approval process,” he told PBN in an email.

Projects awaiting HCDA approval include Stanford Carr’s and Gerding Edlen’s 632-unit Keauhou Lane and Castle & Cooke’s and Kamehameha Schools’ 183-unit projects on Keawe Street.

“When it slows down, developers might want to add projects [to existing developments] or floor area for commercial projects,” Doi said. “We’re still looking at building active community areas.”

Kamehameha Schools, one of the major players in the area, says it is pleased with the progress in getting its projects moving. Its “Our Kakaako” master plan includes nearly 30 acres and nine full-block parcels with 2,750 residential units and commercial space.

“Kamehameha Schools is really thrilled with the way the community itself has sparked an entrepreneurial spirit, created a connected place, bringing different people together and bringing different opportunities,” said Paul Quintiliani, senior director of commercial real estate. “We’re thrilled to death about that.”

The Howard Hughes Corp., another major Kakaako landowner, began its transformation of Ward Centers last year 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.

“We are excited to be part of the development taking place in Kakaako, which will benefit the state of Hawaii as a whole,” Senior Vice President of Development Nick Vanderboom told PBN in an email. “Ward Village will be part of a thriving integrated community that is environmentally sustainable, making a vibrant place where people can live, work and play.”

He noted that the Howard Hughes Corp. communicates frequently with Kamehameha Schools to ensure that their long-term plans are coordinated to create a sustainable community.

“We believe that Kamehameha Schools and their development efforts will contribute to making the Kakaako area a better place,” Vanderboom said.

But, challenges remain.

The Howard Hughes Corp., for example, points out that it is in a rare and fortunate position of having 60 acres of land in its master plan, which has a deep and distinct cultural history.

“We are committed to creating a place that breathes new life into the area while also continuing to pay homage to its history,” Vanderboom said. “With that, we have worked closely with the recognized cultural descendants of the area and our cultural advisers to rise to that challenge and ensure that Ward Village is designed and developed to exist in harmony with the cultural heritage and history of this area.”

Kamehameha Schools is in a similar position as a major landowner in Kakaako.

“There are lots of challenges, millions of square feet of improvements, regulatory challenges, community concerns,” Quintiliani said. “For us, it’s just to continue to remind ourselves why we are doing this and staying true to that vision. We want a vibrant, connected, beautiful community that acts as a place for innovation. That’s what we’re working towards.”

Who’s buying in Kakaako? Ask Alexander & Baldwin

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

So who’s buying in Kakaako? The answer surrounding one of the most burning questions regarding Oahu’s so called “Third City,” at least in one condominium, is mostly locals.

Chris Benjamin, president and chief operating officer of Alexander & Baldwin, was a featured speaker at the Hawaii Economic Association luncheon on Thursday.

Chris Benjamin, president and chief operating officer of Alexander & Baldwin, was a featured speaker at the Hawaii Economic Association luncheon on Thursday.

Chris Benjamin, president and chief operating officer of Alexander & Baldwin (NYSE: ALEX), one of Hawaii’s largest private landowners, says that 80 percent of the buyers at its 43-story, 340-unit Waihonua at Kewalo condo, which is sold out, are locals.

“Most of them will be owner-occupants,” Benjamin told a group of Hawaii business professionals on Thursday as one of the featured speakers at a Hawaii Economic Association luncheon. “Lots of [them] will rent out their units.”

He says that 10 percent were Mainland buyers with the balance being Asian buyers.

But it’s a different story at another condo project with ties to A&B.

The 23-story, 206-unit ONE Ala Moana luxury high-rise being built atop the Nordstrom parking garage at Ala Moana Center may have a much higher percentage of Asian buyers, from the 30 percent to 50 percent range, said Lance Parker, senior vice president of acquisitions and dispositions for A&B’s subsidiary, A&B Properties Inc., who was the other featured speaker at the event, which was held at the Plaza Club in Downtown Honolulu.

Where You Live: Kaka’ako – KITV News

Kaka’ako has always been about change

HONOLULU —Kaka’ako is bounded by Ward Avenue, Punchbowl Street, King Street and the waterfront.

Kaka’ako is on the verge of change, but if you look back over the centuries, it has always been about change.

In the mid-1800s, salt production was a big business.  It’s a past that surprised many we talked to, like Kaka’ako resident Marcus Peng.

“I know this whole block will be redeveloped, will be called salt.  That’s what it is!” said Peng.


A photograph shows Aliiolani Hale, the building that stands behind the King Kamehameha statue on King Street, and how close the ocean is to it.

So what happened to the water?

It began in the mid-1850s with the deepening of Honolulu Harbor.  Over the decades, the dredge material and incinerated waste was used to fill in reef tidelands and salt ponds throughout Kaka’ako.

This created dry land allowing the building of Aloha Tower, the historic pumping station and so much of Kaka’ako.

Looking at Kaka’ako and Honolulu of old with its reefs and water with an overlay of today’s buildings show all of the reclaimed land makai of Ala Moana.

With more dry land, Kaka’ako welcomed businesses and a melting pot of island residents.

Former University of Hawaii president Fujio “Fudge” Matsuda was born and raised in Kaka’ako.  He was born on the Magoon block that once stood along Queen Street.

The Matsuda family would move to a home across from Mother Waldron Park.  His parents ran Matsuda Saimin, selling a bowl of their famous saimin for a dime.

“They moved here and started the saimin stand, the saimin business, and they rebuilt from there,” said Matsuda.  “We lived upstairs and the houses were old then.  By the time we moved in, you could see through the cracks in the wall and see outside.  But, it was home.”  Comfortable.”

The house is long gone and so is the unobstructed view of the mountains Matsuda had right outside his front door.

It was a bustling neighborhood with a reputation for being a tough place to live.

“But for those of us who lived there, it was paradise,” said Matsuda.  “Because in our enclave here, we all knew each other.  We were safe.”

In the 1940s, 5,000 people called Kaka’ako home.  Following the war, most moved out and industry moved in.

By 1970, fewer than 850 people lived there.

Mixed in with the warehouses and apartment buildings, there are a few reminders of the past.

The Royal Brewery building still stands, sans the beer.  And the old Kewalo Theatre with its beautiful details — state-of-the-art when it opened in 1937.  Today, it’s a dive shop.

And now Kaka’ako prepares to change again in a very big way, and will soon welcome a whole new generation to call it home.  Peng says he’s glad he’s there.

“I enjoy it quite a bit, actually.  It’s a very comfortable place to live,” said Peng.  “It’s close to the water.  It’s really up-and-coming, is how I feel about it.”

Read more: http://www.kitv.com/news/hawaii/where-you-live/where-you-live-kakaako/-/22719250/22862874/-/wfn34u/-/index.html#ixzz2kJZ2DD33

Italian eatery proposed for vacant Kewalo building in Kakaako

Italian eatery proposed for vacant Kewalo building in Kakaako. by Andrew Gomes Honolulu Star Advertiser………………..….

A vacant building owned by the state and once used for charter boat operations at Kewalo Basin is being eyed for conversion to an Italian restaurant.

A Japanese-based company is seeking to negotiate a lease for the 3,000-square-foot building with the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency that owns the harbor in Kaka­ako.

The company, Bellavita Inc., owns several Italian restaurants in Japan and has sought exclusive rights to negotiate a lease for the building with HCDA.

The agency is scheduled to discuss the proposal at a meeting Wednesday and could make a decision on whether to enter such negotiations at the meeting.

Bellavita, which is led by Masa­hiko Naka­mura, proposes renovating the building for its plan that includes outdoor seating facing the harbor’s front row largely occupied by charter fishing and tour boats.

Nakamura has a passion for Italian food and culture, and operates an Italian language and cultural center in Japan.

HCDAis considering the proposal as a way to liven up the waterfront. The agency also has received a separate proposal by two wedding companies in Japan to establish a wedding venue and a restaurant on a neighboring site at the harbor.

The wedding companies, Goodluck Corp. and Take and Give Needs Co., want to develop an area used for parking and once occupied by McWayne Marine Supply. HCDA’s board voted in August to let agency staff negotiate terms for a potential lease.

HCDAhas said there would be a detailed presentation by the companies, two public hearings, an environmental review and community consultations before a lease could be approved for the wedding and restaurant development plan.

Walk Score for Kaka’ako

_walkscoreCaptureThis location is a Walker’s Paradise, which means daily errands do not require a car.

This location has excellent transit with 59 nearby bus routes.

There are minimal bike lanes and the terrain is flat as a pancake. This location is bikeable, there is some bike infrastructure.

Go to nearby coffee at Island Coffee & Espresso and get groceries at Naturally Pet.

Restaurants near this location include Asahi Grill, Cafe Duck Butt, I Love Country Cafe, California Beach Rock N’ Sushi, Greens And Vines, Summer’s LavaDogs, Mc Donald’s and Ba-Le Sandwich Shop.

Nearby schools include Voyager – A Public Charter School.


Honolulu Club reopening after remodel

May 31, 2013, 2:48pm HST Updated: May 31, 2013, 6:43pm HST
Mark Abramson  |  Reporter- Pacific Business News

The Honolulu Club will reopen at 5 a.m. Saturday, after the fitness center’s owners — Hawaii developer Richard Gushman and Douglas Emmett Inc. — spent about $3 million on a remodel and new equipment.

Ted Guth, CFO of Douglas Emmett Inc., shows the hallway to the locker rooms, which received new carpeting and paint as part of the Honolulu Club's renovation.

Ted Guth, CFO of Douglas Emmett Inc., shows the hallway to the locker rooms, which received new carpeting and paint as part of the Honolulu Club’s renovation.

The work included redoing the locker rooms, remodeling the bar areas and replacing all of the exercise equipment. Gushman and California-based Douglas Emmett Inc. (NYSE: DEI), which bought the Honolulu Club building in 2008, took over the club when its former owner, Meridien Sports Clubs California LLC, went bankrupt.

It took about 16 days to do the work with crews working around the clock, Gushman said.

Initially Gushman and Emmett Inc., who own the building under the name HNLC Inc. hired HNL Inc., a group led by former NFL Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion Sam Adams, to operate the Honolulu Club. But now HNLC will run it, Gushman said.

Honolulu Builders was the primary contractor on the project.

Gushman wouldn’t say how many members the club has or how much the membership fees are, but he said that membership rates won’t be raised to cover the costs of the work. And some work will continue to be done around the pool areas, lounge and bars for the next month.

“It’s a really high-end fitness environment,” Gushman said. “I think our members will really be excited and surprised,”

Company Disclaimer: Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.