Howard Hughes Corp. may ‘adjust’ prices for some units at Honolulu condo tower


The Howard Hughes Corp. says it may “adjust” the sales price of its remaining condominium units in its Aeo mixed-use residential project in Honolulu in response to the high demand and interest seen since an initial lottery began last month for the project, which will include Whole Foods Market’s new Hawaii flagship store.

An e-mail sent by Ward Village Residential Sales Director Dwight Synan to prospective buyers said the new prices will take effect on Aug. 10. He also noted that all of the studio units in Aeo, which had a starting price of $405,016, were sold out.

He said people who have already expressed interest in the project can purchase a unit at the old price before the price increase takes effect.

As it is currently proposed, The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) has said the 466-unit complex will also include 60,000 square feet of retail spaces. Construction on the project, which will be built on the Office Depot and former Nordstrom Rack site behind the Ward Entertainment Center complex, is slated to be complete by 2018.

Under the new price list, prices for one-bedroom units will start at $817,000. Initially, the starting price for those units was $573,000, but all the lower-priced units have sold out. Prices for two-bedroom units will start at $1.04 million, instead of the previous $860,000 since those lower-priced units have also sold out. Prices of three-bedroom units will start at $1.76 million.

Some real estate industry experts say the decision to increase prices is not a surprising one and are the result of demand for more housing options.

“It’s uncommon, but it is market driven, and we have an uncommon market relative to the rest of the world,” Ricky Cassiday, real estate economist from Data@Work, told PBN in an email. “Hawaii residential property can be very volatile, especially on the upside. Historically, we have seen price appreciation at double-digit increases.”

Jon Yamaguchi, president and CEO of his Yamaguchi & Yamaguchi Inc. real estate appraisal and consulting services company, said the big question now is what type of role will speculative buyers will eventually have on the market.

“Those are the ones who are going to hurt the market because we’ve seen it before,” Yamaguchi said. “If you’re spread very thin, you don’t have the financial backing, and you’re banking on flipping it, but it doesn’t happen because there’s too much supply, then you’re going to have all of these guys who are going to start dumping and that’s when you start having a falloff market.”

Construction also is continuing on the Texas-based developer’s Waiea and Anaha mixed-use towers nearby, which are slated to be finished at the end of 2016 and the second quarter of 2017, respectively. Meanwhile, the design process is being finalized for the master planned community’s 988 Halekauwila project, which will have 375 one-, two- and three-bedroom affordable units and is slated to be complete by 2019.

The story has been revised to clarify that the lower-priced units have sold out.

Darin Moriki
Pacific Business News


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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