Kakaako plan would include housing near transit stations, grocery stores

A bill to "reboot" the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency charged with overseeing the redevelopment of Kakaako, seen here in this file photo, has been sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature.

A bill to “reboot” the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency charged with overseeing the redevelopment of Kakaako, seen here in this file photo, has been sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature.

Hawaii regulators unveiled an update Wednesday for the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako’s transit-oriented development plan calling for diverse residential building types, ground-oriented family housing near transit stations, additional reserved housing, grocery stores, cultural and community amenities, food trucks and spaces for artists.

Deepak Neupane, director of planning and development for the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency regulating development in Kakaako, presented the plan to the HCDA board at a workshop meeting at its offices in Honolulu.

The plan also includes the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and the efficient use of off-street parking. There would be more green buildings, green roofs and walls, as well as slender, sustainable residential towers.

Other elements include creating a well-connected pedestrian network, a complete network of bicycle lanes and establishing a Transportation Management Association.

In November, Gov. David Ige gave his stamp of approval to the final environmental impact statement for the area’s TOD plan, which incorporates urban design, mobility and access, complete streets, rail transit, and parking and transportation demand-management principles to create a compact, walkable and livable community in Kakaako.

The 300-page plan, which covers about 600 acres, now heads to the plan and rule adoption phase. Neupane said there will be workshops and public hearings, among other steps, before a final update is drafted.

Duane Shimogawa
Pacific Business News

Panda Express billionaire founders put their Honolulu penthouse up for sale

The billionaire owners of Panda Restaurant Group, parent company of the Panda Express restaurant chain, have put their Honolulu penthouse up for sale for about $3.6 million, according to public records.

Andrew Cherng and Peggy Cherng, the husband-and-wife founders of Panda Express, have been busy buying Hawaii real estate.

The Cherngs recently purchased a beachfront mansion on Honolulu’s Kahala Avenue that was once owned by the late Honolulu attorney David Schutter for $15.2 million, as first reported by PBN.

They also purchased a parcel in Kapolei in West Oahu from Wal-Mart Stores inc. for $5.75 million.

The Cherngs are now selling their penthouse at the Hokua condominium near Ward Village in Honolulu. The three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom corner unit, which was purchased in 2013 for $3.1 million, is being sold fully furnished. The unit has a total assessed value of about $3 million.

A real estate source tells PBN that the Cherngs bought the penthouse with cash, and tried to sell it last year for about $3.8 million.

The Cherngs, who also paid cash for their Kahala Avenue property purchase, apparently plan to build a new home on that property and may be spending more time in Hawaii.

Trevor Benn, president of Honolulu-based Benn Pacific Group Inc., told PBN that the list of billionaires who have residences in Hawaii is growing.

“Our clean environment and natural beauty, together with strong private schools, make it attractive to the affluent at different life stages,” he said. “Our challenge remains providing housing for all income levels.“

The California-based Panda Restaurant Group, which also owns Panda Inn and Hibachi-San, has 19 Panda Express locations in Hawaii.

PBN reached out to the Panda Restaurant Group for comment Tuesday.

Duane Shimogawa
Pacific Business News

1288 Ala Moana Boulevard 28A

1288 Ala Moana Boulevard 28A

Hawaii agencies could join to develop ‘Kakaako Makai Innovation Block’

The area where a new economic accelerator is being planed in Kakaako Makai near the UH

The area where a new economic accelerator is being planed in Kakaako Makai near the UH

Two state agencies — one promoting Hawaii’s economic diversification through venture capital investment partnerships and the other that oversees development in Kakaako — are looking to join forces to develop an economic accelerator in the growing Honolulu neighborhood, a spokeswoman for one of the agencies confirmed to PBN.

The “Kakaako Makai Innovation Block,” a partnership between the High Technology Development Corp. and the Hawaii Community Development Authority, is planned for a 5.5-acre lot with an allowable floor area of 360,000 square feet near the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine campus on what is now being used as a parking lot.

The block would offer synergy and connection with the medical school and the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, according to an information briefing on the project to the HCDA this week.

The project would be done in three phases. The first phase would be an “Entrepreneur’s Sandbox,” a collaboration space for technology and enterprise, and an “Innovation Hale,” which would house technology and enterprise resources.

The hale would include a stand-alone commercial office and retail mall and DataHouse Consulting, one of the biggest information technology firms in Hawaii, as well as Fisher Hawaii, one of the largest home and office product supply warehouse and retail stores in the state.

Other potential tenants could come from health care, technology, education and data services.

The second phase would consist of the “Kewalo Incubation Center,” a place for the High Technology Development Corp. facilities and a regional parking facility that would increase parking in the area from 400 stalls at grade to 600 to 900 stalls in a parking structure.

The center would cater to start-ups, with space rents backloaded and customized for flexibility.

The third phase includes a learning center with up to 150,000 square feet of facilities and the “Keawe Courtyard,” an outdoor gathering place.

The HCDA is expected to hear more about the project at a future meeting.

“[The collaborations] are aimed at improving business and economic development in Hawaii, especially in Kakaako,” Lindsey Doi, spokeswoman for the HCDA, told PBN in an email.

Duane Shimogawa
Pacific Business News

A look at Kakaako’s changing population; Who is moving in?

HONOLULU —There has been a housing boom in Kakaako, but just who is moving into this bustling urban center?

Kakaako’s warehouses and auto repair shops are being replaced with new high-rise condos. And plenty of people have also been moving in as well.

According to census data, in 1990 2,249 people called Kakaako home.
By 2000, 6,239 were there.
In 2010, the number of residents increased to 10,673.

With thousands of condo units under construction and even more being planned, experts believe it won’t be long before the number of residents doubles.

When it comes to the housing boom in Kakaako, not everyone is buying in.
In fact, 54% rent, rather than own their own place.

So who has been moving in?

“Many of them, we believe, are younger, educated, who want to create a lifestyle,” said Anthony Ching, with the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

According to the latest study, roughly half of Kakaako residents over 25 years old have a college degree.
A majority work in retail, finance, and other service areas.

“62% of the population is between 25-62 years old, so there is a working sense there,” said Ching.

15% walk to work, which is one of the reasons future changes to Kakaako include plans to make it even more pedestrian-friendly.

“While we expect there will be towers, you will have a streetscape that is totally transformed. It will friendly for pedestrians,” said Ching.

That includes changes like turning ground-level parking into retail or restaurants to give people a destination or a more scenic walk.

Another change that will be coming soon will be bikes lanes added along the Ilalo Street sidewalk. That effort aims to make the street a major pedestrian and bicycling thoroughfare.

While Kakaako will see more bike lanes and new buildings, it has fewer families and kids.

Only 17% of Kakaako families have children, which is half the average of families across Oahu.

And there are a lot of people living alone. More than 40% of condo or rental units have only one resident.

Percentages could change depending on future development. Larger, more affordable housing projects could bring in more families.

We’ll have to wait to see who moves in, as Kakaako continues its transformation.

“You won’t see people living in their towers but you will see more at the street level and that will create an energy and truly stamp this community,” added Ching.


Lox of Bagels’ owner to open new cafe in Kakaako

cafe-grace3-sm-600xx1053-702-8-0The owner of Lox of Bagels is opening a new cafe called Cafe Grace on the ground level of the Imperial Plaza condominium, next to a Vietnamese restaurant, in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako next week, the manager told PBN.

Manager Naomi Salomon said that Cafe Grace will serve bagels, coffee and desserts.

The cafe will open to the public at 1 p.m. on Aug. 14, Salomon said. Its regular hours will be from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed on Sundays.

Lox of Bagels, which moved into a bigger location at the Kokea Center in Honolulu on Dillingham Boulevard a few months ago, plans to close down its original location at Sand Island at the end of this month, Salomon said.

The bagel and coffee shop was founded by Lester and Irene Yonamine, who grew the business from a startup to where it is today.

In 2007, Lox of Bagels was acquired by Kiku International, an American subsidiary of a logistics, supply and human resource company based in Japan, with the intention of solidifying Lox of Bagels’ position as a leading wholesale supplier of fresh bagels.

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

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.

Another Kakaako high-rise planned – Developer, exact location of newest condo tower still unknown, but it will add hundreds of units

Another Kakaako high-rise planned – Developer, exact location of newest condo tower still unknown, but it will add hundreds of units

May 10, 2013, 12:00am HST
Duane Shimogawa  |  Reporter- Pacific Business News

Halekauwila Place, whose crane is shown in the foreground, is one of 15 condominium projects known to be in the works in Kakaako. If all of the projects go forward, more than 4,000 units will be added to the market in the next five years.

Halekauwila Place, whose crane is shown in the foreground, is one of 15 condominium projects known to be in the works in Kakaako. If all of the projects go forward, more than 4,000 units will be added to the market in the next five years.

Plans are in the works for another mixed-use high-rise condominium project in Kakaako that would include hundreds of residential units, according to Anthony Ching, executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency overseeing the development of Kakaako and Kalaeloa.

He declined to say who the developer is or exactly where the project would be located.

“They haven’t finished full site control, [and they’re] still negotiating for a lease or sale [of the land],” Ching told PBN. “I believe by [the end of] this year we will receive their plans.”

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,”