Office of Hawaiian Affairs looks for short-term users in Kakaako Makai

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is seeking short-term uses for several parcels in Kakaako Makai, where the agency acquired some 30 acres three years ago from the state of Hawaii in a deal meant to resolve a decades-long dispute.

Peter Apo, a trustee for OHA, told attendees at a recent Hawaii Society of Business Professionals event in Honolulu that it is looking for ideas from developers for about six lots in Kakaako Makai.

On Monday, OHA said it secured a lease with Street Grindz, the company that does Eat the Street, Honolulu Night Market and Art After Dark, at the former Fisherman’s Wharf site for “daily activities.”

“Now that we are landowners, we are on the hot seat,” Apo said at the event, which focused on the area. “We have to do something that people will feel good about. It’s a tricky navigation [process].”

He noted that OHA recently completed its first round of statewide meetings, with more on the way.

“It was a very intensive two-and-a-half weeks of direct engagement with communities across the state,” Apo said.

OHA awarded a nearly $3 million contract to a partnership of four Hawaiian firms, including Edith Kanakaole Foundation, DTL, PBR Hawaii and WCIT Architecture.

The contract, which requires its leadership team to actively get input from the Hawaiian community during the master planning for Kakaako Makai, is expected to take two years to fulfill.

The 30 acres in Honolulu that OHA acquired from the state are valued at an estimated $200 million.

Apo pointed out that all the major landowners in Kakaako, including The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) and Kamehameha Schools need to work together.

“We will never have an opportunity where you have only three landowners,” he said. “One proposal we had put out there was the three landowners putting Hawaiian plants in Kakaako, and maybe do botanical tours for children.”

Apo said the end result for Kakaako, if all three landowners are on the same page, would be developing a world-class destination for locals and visitors.

OHA’s proposal to build residential high-rises in the area was shot down by state lawmakers last year.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

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