Honolulu’s Kakaako to get help from feds on boosting healthy food production

Hawaii is one of 22 states to be chosen for a federal partnership to boost economic opportunities for local farmers and other businesses promoting childhood wellness via access to healthy local food in the Honolulu area of Kakaako Makai, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

The “Local Foods, Local Places” initiative involves six federal agencies and the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency regulating development in Kakaako, which will focus on identifying food-based projects that will spur greater investment and stewardship in the area, enhancing local food production, integrating food security initiatives with community and transit-oriented development planning and reducing stormwater runoff and vulnerability to sea level rise.

The selected communities were chosen from more than 300 applicants. Each Local Foods, Local Places community will work with a team of experts who will help community members recognize local assets and opportunities, set goals for revitalizing downtown areas and neighborhoods, develop an implementation plan, and identify targeted resources from the participating federal agencies to help implement those plans.

The initiative, launched in 2014, is a partnership among the EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority.

Duane Shimogawa
Pacific Business News

Ward Village launches sales for Ke Kilohana

Ke Kilohana at Ward VillageThe Howard Hughes Corporation (NYSE: HHC) announced Friday that it is launching sales for the reserved housing program in its newest Ward Village project, Ke Kilohana at 988 Halekauwila St.

Applications will be available from Saturday, March 26 until Sunday, April 3, at the Ke Kilohana Sales Gallery in the IBM Building at 1240 Ala Moana Boulevard, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Completed applications must be returned in person between April 8 and April 13. Buyers will be selected in a lottery to be held April 15 via webcast, with home selection beginning on April 16 based on lottery placement and running throughout April.

In a statement, Ward Village explains, “The lottery will simply assign an appointment date, according to the selected order, for the buyer to come in to select his/her home and complete the contracting process. Buyers will be informed of their appointment time via email.”

There are 375 reserved housing residences reserved for qualified buyers in the 43-story, mixed-use condominium high-rise. These include one-bedrooms priced from $323,475 to $442,246, two-bedrooms priced from $473,789 to $538,612, and three-bedrooms priced from $521,774 to $560,774. The tower also includes 49 market-priced residences.

Competition for the reserved housing units may be stiff — Ward Village notes that more than 3,500 people attended informational seminars on Ke Kilohana in over December, January and February.

A. Kam Napier
Pacific Business News


Ke Kilohana at Ward VillageReserved Housing Application packets may be obtained from the Ke Kilohana Sales Gallery starting Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 10:00 a.m, and will be available for pickup through Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Applications will not be available for pickup after Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Prospective purchasers should carefully review the information contained in the Reserved Housing Application packet to determine whether all eligibility requirements are met.

The earliest date that completed Reserved Housing Applications will be accepted is Friday, April 8, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. Reserved Housing Applications will not be accepted prior to this time. Applications must be hand-delivered to the Ke Kilohana Sales Gallery between Friday, April 8, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. and Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. to be eligible to participate in the Lottery. Only substantially complete applications will be accepted. Applications delivered by email, facsimile, mail or courier will NOT be accepted.

Completing the application packet will include;
1. Notarized Affidavit of Intent to Purchase and Reside in a Designated Owner-Occupant Reserved Housing Residential Unit;
2. Notarized Affidavit of Eligibility to Purchase a Reserved Housing Unit in the 988 Halekauwila Condominium Project;
3. 988 Halekauwila Registration Agreement – Reserved Housing Owner-Occupant; and
4. Loan Pre-Qualification Letter provided by Honolulu HomeLoans or First Hawaiian Bank.

Inquire About This Project


Ke Kilohana at Ward Village

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


Among the pluses of Kakaako living for the Dangs: a brief walk to work instead of a daily commute in traffic.


Count the cranes popping up along or near Ala Moana Boulevard and check out Howard Hughes’ interactive model of the re-imagined Kakaako circa 2025, and it’s understandable when longtime locals fear the loss of the Honolulu they’ve always known.

Talk to the people now living in the three most recently opened buildings in Kakaako, however, and they tell a different story. They talk about community and value, about actually living the “live/ work/play” tag line, and about walking more and driving less. The new Kakaako – which has been largely speculative until now – is emerging, and the people living there like what they see.

Two new buildings opened their doors to residents in December and January. Waihonua, the Alexander & Baldwin project that filled the last slot in the area’s “super block,” opened 345 new residences near the corner of Waimanu and Piikoi, while One at Ala Moana added another 206 homes on top of the Nordstrom store at the mall. Prior to those two openings, Pacifica Honolulu, on Kapiolani Boulevard between Ward and Kamakee, was the newest residential condo tower in the area, opening in 2011 after San Diego developer Oliver-McMillan bought the partially built project off the auction block and completed it.

Every Kakaako developer claims its buyers are locals – families, working professionals, retirees – but talk about this development boom with friends at work or at church, and many don’t buy it. With three new buildings now open and residents firing up the grills on their recreation decks, Hawaii Business set out to see who really lives there.



Kevin Aoki is a hard man to track down. With restaurants in Miami, Atlanta and Honolulu, his staff thinks he spends more time on airplanes than in any one spot. While even he admits there’s not much time left for “playing” – between his restaurants and his wife and two children – Aoki embodies Kakaako’s live/work promise.

“I do everything in Kakaako,” he says, sitting in front of his two Kakaako restaurants, Doraku and Blue Tree Cafe, two anchor tenants in Pacifica Honolulu. “I live and work in the same building. My office is in Kakaako, and I’m developing a new spot on the corner,” he says, pointing to the overflow parking area he maintains on the corner of Kamakee and Kapiolani.

Born and raised in New York City, urban living comes easy for Aoki, but it took the vision of the Oliver-McMillan developers to lure him to Kakaako. “They kept eating in my Waikiki restaurant,” he said, “and they kept talking.” Oliver-McMillan’s vision included street-level restaurants a short walk from Blaisdell Center. “When I first came and looked, this stretch was really dark and uninviting,” Aoki says, “but I saw opportunity. It’s close to Ala Moana, close to downtown. Where else can Oahu grow?”

Aoki bought a three bedroom condo in the building, then moved in and opened the two restaurants as soon as the construction was completed. From his 33rd-floor windows, he has expansive views from Magic Island to the airport. Asked if he worries about losing those views when the new buildings go up in front of him, he shakes his head. “Nah. Views are views, but owning here is gaining equity in the area.”

Aoki confesses he doesn’t have much time to enjoy the building’s amenities, but reports that his children love them, particularly the pool and the two on-site movie theaters. “And I’m on the building’s board,” he says, “so I get to hear all about what’s going on.”

Economist Paul Brewbaker talks about “agglomeration economies,” the forces that collide in urban settings that often produce unexpected benefits and synergy. For Aoki, it’s not a concept, but a reality. The successful partnering of his restaurant with this Oliver-McMillan project now has the two entities partnering again, this time on an Atlanta project. “And we’re seeing the same thing there,” he says. “It feels like a demographic shift, where people are leaving the suburbs and returning to the city.”

As for Aoki, Kakaako is home. He’s purchasing a unit in the new Oliver-McMillan building, Symphony, and is holding his Pacifica home for his mom. “She’s like my business partner,” he says, “and when she’s ready, we want her close by.”



30,000 PEOPLE - Kakaako's population will most likely triple by 2030, says LIndsey Doi of the Hawaii Community Development Authority.   The Census Brueau says "There was a population of 10,673 residents in the Kakaako are in 2010. We predict the population to rise to 30,000 people by 2030," Doi says. Charlie and Claire Shimamoto never imagined they’d leave their home in Aina Haina, the home where they had raised their daughters, displayed treasures collected over decades, and customized to fit their hobbies and needs – a craft room for Claire and an indoor driving range to keep their golf games sharp. Nor did they think that, once their two daughters were grown, starting families and careers of their own, they’d all live under the same roof again.

Then Waihonua came along. In January, the entire Shimamoto clan moved into this new Kakaako building – Claire and Charlie in their two-bedroom unit, daughter Monique and her boyfriend in their home just one floor up, and their other daughter, Nicole, and her husband two floors above that.

What is it like having the whole family in the same building? “Ah, they’re busy!” Charlie says of his daughters and their partners. “They lead their own lives, and we do, too. But it’s so convenient. When somebody needs something, we’re right here.” They also have a lock on what’s going on in the building. Nicole, an attorney with Central Pacific Bank, took a seat on the board and oversees the finance committee. Monique, a teacher, sits on the social committee. Asked if he’s looking to turn the tables and complain to his daughters when things aren’t going right, Charlie laughs and says, “You think they’d listen?”


—Tanna Dang, Kakaako storeowner and condo owner

“We had three years to prepare,” he says of the journey from buying before the building was completed to actually moving in. “Every week, we’d eat at the noodle house across the street and watch the progress.” Charlie and Claire knew they weren’t just moving – they were embracing a complete lifestyle change. Charlie bought bus passes and he and Claire parked their car at Ala Moana and explored the island by bus. “We even struck out to the North Shore for shrimp one day,” he says. “Yeah, it took all day, but, hey, we’re retired.”

Charlie retired a few years ago, finally passing on the family business, Chinatown’s Chicken Cradle Market, to one of the employees. His parents had started the business and passed it on to him. “I didn’t want my daughters selling chickens,” he says, so he made sure they got their educations, made good grades and launched careers. Family ties run deep in Hawaii, with Charlie’s grandparents even living in Kakaako for a time. “I’ve watched it decline over the years. Those who question the development here, they don’t have roots here. I do, and I like the progress,” he says.

“The old, untouched ways may be what brings people to Hawaii,” Claire adds, “but those of us from here, we want to see progress.”

Charlie admits he’s closely watching Howard Hughes Corp., but that, so far, he’s impressed with what the developer is doing. “The Ward area, it’s going to be fabulous,” he says, “And not just for those of us who live here, but for everybody on Oahu.”

Claire is quick to point out the families and young professionals she sees drawn to the area. “My daughter teaches public school. Her boyfriend is a respiratory therapist. And they live here,” she says.

As for the talk of megabuck penthouses, Charlie is pragmatic. “There can only be so many penthouses,” he says, “and the people who buy them, I figure they worked hard, too.”



FOREIGN VS. LOCAL OWNERSHIP  Every developer in Kakaako says the majority of its condo buyers are local, though the proportions vary.  For instance, David Striph, senior VP with Howard Hughes Corp., says 70 percent of its buyers so far are local. 801 South Street, a workforce housing tower, says 98 percent of its buyers are local.  Lindsey Doi, the HCDA’s compliance assurance and community outreach officer, does not have an overall figure, but she says the majority of buyers in Kakaako have local addresses.Lucia Amasio and her husband jumped on a one bedroom rental at One Ala Moana as soon as it came on the market. In their mid-40s, with no children and demanding jobs in the hospitality industry, finding the right place to live was critical. “When we came back to Oahu from Maui,” she says, “we had to decide: Kahala, Hawaii Kai or Kakaako?” Kakaako’s location and buzz sealed the deal. “We’re really loving SALT,” she says, referring to the Kamehameha Schools development around Coral and Keawe streets, highlighting local shops, restaurants and street art.

At One, she’s found a nice life. “We love the amenities – the pool, the cabanas, the golf simulator and the movie room,” she says. And, as a merchandising professional at Aulani, Amasio knows amenities – when they work and when they don’t. She also likes the size of One. “With only 200 units, it feels more intimate.”

Asked about the megamoney buyers and the rumors of Mark Zuckerberg owning there, she was emphatic. “It’s just not what I’m witnessing. I see young professionals living and working in the area, kids getting on the elevators and heading to school.” As for Zuckerberg, she laughs, admitting she doesn’t really know what he looks like, but as far as she can tell, the VIPs and everyday folks seem to mix without distinction.

Amasio and her husband still own their Maui home and are trying to figure out which of the new buildings in Kakaako is their next buy. “I just feel like Kakaako is blossoming,” she says. “There are buildings and units at all price points. Waikiki is touristy, but Kakaako feels like it’s for the locals.”



Tanna Dang says that, since moving into Waihonua in January, she hasn’t filled her gas tank once. “We walk to work, and we stroll home after work, stopping for dinner or a coffee,” she says. “You just don’t get that kind of experience when you’re in your car every day.”

Dang and her husband, Bryson, are part of another multigenerational family calling Waihonua home. They first visited the Waihonua sales gallery just to look. A few hours later, they plunked down their deposit and called her mom to check it out. Mom did.

Dang saw her parents aging and wanted to be sure they were in a good spot to enjoy a great quality of life when they retired, rather than worrying about the maintenance and upkeep of their large Nuuanu home. “It’s been a paradigm shift for them,” she says, “realizing that they can downsize and really enjoy life now.”

For her parents, that process is ongoing. The Nuuanu home goes on the market this summer and they are currently living between both homes, packing and downsizing during the week, then camping at Waihonua on the weekends. “They call it Camp Waiho,” Dang says. “Mom’s living it up, serving on the communications committee and making sure to go to all the events in the neighborhood.”

As the owners of Eden in Love, a lifestyle boutique in Ward Warehouse, Dang and her husband might worry that Howard Hughes’ changes in Ward Village could hurt them. But she doesn’t see it that way. “They’ve been communicative and honest with us, and I’m confident there’ll be a spot for us in the new Ward Village,” she says.

For now, her Mini Cooper sits lonely in the Waihonua garage while she and her husband hit the sidewalks every morning, stop for pastries at Panya Bistro on the way to the store, then close up shop around nine each night and stroll home under the stars.



Raymond Kang and his partner were original owners in Pacifica and have now bought a condo in Anaha, which is four blocks makai.

Raymond Kang and his partner couldn’t take the traffic anymore, commuting to their jobs in Kahala and the Ala Moana area, so they sold their Moanalua Village home and decided to “test drive” city living. It didn’t take long in a rented unit in the Admiral Thomas building before they signed on as original buyers in Pacifica. “We are city people. Our lives are in town,” Kang says.

“We enjoy the lifestyle,” he says. “There’s no rushing home after work. There’s no traffic. With Chai’s downstairs, we can either cook and eat in, or wander downstairs for dinner.”

Kang admits, however, that their big visions of walking everywhere haven’t materialized as much as they thought. “We’re addicted to the air conditioning, I think,” he says.


—Raymond Kang, New Kakaako resident

As for community, Kang and his partner are also bullish on the Ward Village concept, after having initially been dubious of Howard Hughes. “They seem to have listened to people,” he says, mentioning the 3-acre park slated to go where the warehouses by the theaters are now and the array of monthly events happening at the IBM Building.

Being a Realtor, Kang says, he focuses on value and the diversity of products for a diversity of buyers. He’s found that both local and offshore buyers are attracted to the area and that, by design, it embraces both.

Kang and his partner recently listed their Pacifica home, trying to miss the rush of sales when the new Howard Hughes buildings are completed next year. They’ve purchased a new unit in Anaha and are also considering other Kakaako buildings still in development.

“When you’re converting to condo life,” Kang says, “you’ve got to plan ahead, not wait to the last minute.” They’re staying close, of that they are certain. “We’ll still be coming to happy hour at Chai’s,” he says.



Colleen Kitamoto calls her one bedroom home in Waihonua her dream come true: a peaceful place to enjoy retirement. Kitamoto knew, even as a little girl on the Leeward Coast, that she’d one day live in a new condo. “I know I was the only kid in my class who announced she’d one day buy a condo,” she says. Her new home is proof that the perseverance, attention to financial planning and work ethic instilled by her parents paid off.

Kitamoto spent a career in the insurance business saving enough to buy a small place in upper Makiki and watching its value grow over 25 years. She worked closely with her financial planner, explaining that she wanted to retire early and buy a new condo. He told her she could do one or the other, but probably not both. She proved him wrong and then some.

“A&B made this attainable for so many of us,” she says, pointing to the pricing when the units first went on the market. “It was a boutique, contemporary project, perfect for local buyers.”

As for the other projects in the area, Kitamoto feels locals are very much a factor in the developments and sales. “People say there’s no chance for locals to live in these buildings, but I don’t think that. We need all kinds of people to create a community.”

For her now, it’s all about quality of life. Attention has been given to the tiniest details of her new home, making sure it reflects her dream. Kitamoto brought with her only the few things she treasures, starting from scratch and working with her interior designer and friend Jean Udell. The two picked each piece, from the modern painting of Steve Jobs to the James Moder chandelier that hangs in her bedroom. “Jobs is an inspiration to me,” she says, “and I wanted that sense of inspiration in my home.”

Even in realizing the dream, however, Kitamoto stuck to her budget. “I still like to shop, and Nordstrom is going to be right there very soon,” she says, pointing to the Ewa expansion at the Ala Moana Center.

Kitamoto serves on the Waihonua board, pouring over the insurance policies to make sure her investments are protected and helping with the communications committee. “There’s such a community forming already within the building, everybody sharing information and helping each other,” she says.

Kitamoto shares her dream home with her lovebird, Buffy, whose cage sits in the corner of the bedroom. She and Udell thought of everything, even finding a miniature chandelier for Buffy’s cage, similar to the one over the bed. “Now we each have our own chandeliers,” she says. And their own perch in the sky over Kakaako.



The reimagined Kakaako was first envisioned almost 40 years ago when the state Legislature established the Hawaii Community Development Authority, charging it to focus on renewal and urban planning in underutilized areas. Kakaako was first on the list. The area’s development history has since tracked the economic booms and busts of those four decades.

The residential “Super Block” emerged in the area bordered by Ala Moana, Piikoi, Queen and Waimanu streets. This cluster of high-rise residential towers promised urban living with amenities, less commuting and proximity to upscale Honolulu shopping and dining. Nauru Tower was the first building on the block in 1990, a luxury property with ocean views. Hawaiki followed almost a decade later, after the local economic doldrums dissipated, then Hokua and Koolani took their slots in 2005 and 2006, leaving only one small parcel undeveloped.

Kakaako seemed poised to rise up as the urban core once imagined, with Moana Pacific opening in 2007, a dual-tower project with almost 700 units taking the whole mauka side of Kapiolani between Pensacola and Piikoi, and 909 Kapiolani, a project with only 225 units on the corner of Ward and Kapiolani. The ill-fated Moana Vista was slated to open by late 2008 or early 2009, but cue the Great Recession and that building stalled, partially completed, a metaphor of the start stop pace that has plagued this new Kakaako. Sensing the engines revving again, San Diego-based developer Oliver-McMillan snatched the partially completed project off the auction block and brought it back to life as Pacifica Honolulu, which opened in 2011.

More than 20 years after the Super Block opened its first residential tower, Alexander & Baldwin broke ground on the block’s final building, Waihonua. The small footprint of the project, squeezed between two large buildings and so close to Ala Moana, raised doubts that it could be on par with its neighbors. When the building opened three years later, the buyers got the last laugh with eye-popping appraisals on their units, coming in significantly higher than what they paid.

With the economy robust again and housing in short supply, blue-chip developers like MacNaughton Group, Kobayashi Group and Stanford Carr joined Oliver-McMillan and A&B, announcing new projects and breaking ground on an array of offerings across the urban core, from the posh luxury of One Ala Moana on top of the existing Nordstrom store to the more affordable 801 South St. towers on the site of the old Honolulu Advertiser building.

Then the big game changers: Howard Hughes Corp. acquired the 60-acre Victoria Ward properties in late 2010 and Kamehameha Schools began working soon thereafter on its SALT mixed-use project on 29 acres of prime Kakaako property. Suddenly HCDA was busy again, with two 800-pound gorillas proposing vast changes to the area and other smaller projects getting in on the action.

The high-tech interactive model at the IBM Building highlights most of Kakaako and offers a glimpse of the area’s future, with as many as 20 new residential buildings, a 3-acre park in the middle, a show stopping Whole Foods Market with residences on top, and a bevy of restaurants, shops and galleries weaving it all together. Whether it happens in the time frame projected – completion within the decade – is likely to be as dependent on the economic winds as the progress made to date has been. Either way, Honolulu’s live/work/play urban core has already been firmly planted in the former salt ponds of Kakaako.


MetroGrow Hawaii: Kakaako’s first urban vertical farm

Tucked away in the heart of Kaka’ako lives a little urban vertical farm. You would never know it unless you enter a second floor door and turn a corner. Smiling and eager to share his passion for plants is Kerry Kakazu. Not only does he have a degree in biology from UH Manoa and graduate degrees in plant physiology from UC Davis, he’s also worked in biomedicine, was a teacher and professor and dabbled a bit in cancer research. (In case you’re wondering, plant physiology is the study of how plants function.)

Several years ago Kakazu thought his hobby of growing plants might be a good business. He started looking for a spot where he could create his own urban indoor farm. That’s how MetroGrow Hawaii began. “Right now it’s been savings, family, a few friends just helping me out,” Kakazu says about the commitment behind the vertical aeroponic and hydroponic operation.

Kakazu has an 800-sf second floor space to grow his 50 beds of greens off Auahi and Cooke streets.

The little farm is like a baby that Kakazu has nurtured, and now he’s a proud daddy eager to share it with the world. He grows things like butter lettuce and ice plant (also known as glacier lettuce, which is super cool and has tiny droplets of water that make them shine and taste salty like sea asparagus). He has micro greens and various shoots including tendril pea shoots and golden corn shoots. He even has experimental crops and has promised to give me the scoop once these show promise.

What makes aeroponics so cool is that instead of soaking plants’ roots in water, the system mists them every few seconds, giving just the right amount of nutrient-rich water they need to grow. Kakazu says this method conserves water and enhances nutrients. And indoor farms mean you control the lighting (he uses LED lights) and avoid invasive pests. “Definitely in this kind of growing the ability to control the environment is key,” he says. Often he is able to grow a plant faster than in dirt, shaving off more than a week from seedling to harvest.

Ice plant

Produce from this working farm goes to restaurants like Yohei Sushi, Tango, Stage Restaurant and Vino (slated to reopen in September). And Kakazu’s chatting with some very well-known Hawaii chefs. “Restaurants are really interested in finding something new that they can’t get easily or that will interest the diners,” he says.

Ultimately he hopes to be able to sell to the public. He would love to have people stop by for greens like at an indoor farmer’s market.

Here’s a look at his Kaka’ako indoor farm:

I was amazed by one man’s single-handed work in creating this little farm. From finding a location to error-proofing methods, planting seeds, germinating them, harvesting produce, delivering and doing all the non-farming behind-the-scenes work, too! Kakazu maintains his website and does his own social media, marketing and sales out of his love of plants and new farming methods, and a passion for sharing them with others.


One of the future plans for Kakaako is to make the area more pedestrian friendly and add more shops and restaurants.

One of the future plans for Kakaako is to make the area more pedestrian friendly and add more shops and restaurants.


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.


Honolulu’s Eat The Street to move to Kakaako Gateway Park

honolulueat-teh-streetfried-musubi-600xx528-352-36-0After nearly five years at its South Street spot, Hawaii’s monthly food truck tasting event Eat The Street is moving three blocks away to Kakaako Gateway Park.

Stanford Carr’s Keauhou Place condominium project at the 555 South St. location will soon begin construction.

Street Grindz Owner and CEO Poni Askew said the new location has the same amenities, including free parking, and the bonus of grass seating. Kakaako Gateway Park borders Ala Moana Boulevard and Cooke Street.

“We didn’t want to interrupt our attendees’ normal way of doing things,” she told PBN. “We thought it would be really cool to have a park setting with green grass than the asphalt. We’re really fortunate to work with the Hawaii Community Development Authority and they’re excited to host us over there.”

Eat The Street: Japan will be held on South Street for the last time on March 27 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Each event is held the last Friday of the month, and hosts about 40 food vendors. More than 7,000 people attend each month.

Since its inception, Eat the Street has held 51 events, with approximately 418,200 attendees spending more than $15 million on local businesses.

Lorin Eleni Gill Reporter – Pacific Business News


On January 30, 2015, Ward Village held the second community meeting to discuss the planning for Kewalo Harbor at the Net Shed (Kupu Training Facility) at Kewalo Harbor.

Like the first meeting held in November, nearly 100 community stakeholders and officials attended the presentation. However, the main focus of this meeting was on what Kewalo should be. A short presentation was given, outlining concepts for the master plan that were derived from feedback received from the last meeting. Those concepts became the framework for the master plan’s vision:

Kewalo should be:

Makai – Our Community Gathering Place
Pilina – A connection to the waterfront
Piko – A diverse working harbor
Kauhale – An urban fishing village
Kahakai – A unique beach experience
Kai – A family ocean destination
After the presentation, an ‘open house’ session allowed guests to freely peruse the various plans, sketches and imagery to ask questions and provide additional feedback to the development team.


Honolulu’s Kakaako needs major work at the street level, experts say

Eugene Price, left, owner of PD Technologies, and employee Darren DeMello install vinyl artwork on the side of a building in Kakaako.

Eugene Price, left, owner of PD Technologies, and employee Darren DeMello install vinyl artwork on the side of a building in Kakaako.

Better coordination between landowners, developing a business improvement district and subsidizing retailers were some of the ideas tossed around at a town hall meeting in Downtown Honolulu that focused on the pedestrian experience in the growing Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako.

While much of the talk of Kakaako has been about those tall skyscrapers being built in the area, the subject of the American Institute of Architects Honolulu Chapter’s event Tuesday night focused on what’s below those buildings.

“We need better coordination to avoid patchwork,” said Ralph Portmore, president of Aiea-based PPDS LLC, a planning consulting firm and one of the event’s panelists. “We need to focus more on the how [we get there] and not the what [we can do]. We have an opportunity with Auahi Street to deal with the how, because we have two landowners, The Howard Hughes Corp. and Kamehameha Schools. We need to lock into something.”

He also noted that Kakaako needs a business improvement district, something that pulls together all the stakeholders, including the city and the state.

“Through collaboration, you get more synergy,” said Portmore, who also pointed out that retail is important to the area.

“We need more mom and pop shops, the little places you and I can go to,” he said. “But can they afford the rent? We have reserved housing, but what about reserved rent [for retailers]. Rents need to be lowered in Kakaako. It’s going to take a while to get critical mass there, so you have to populate it with storefronts.”

Andrew Tang, founder and leading designer of Honolulu’s TANGLOBE Design, Architecture & Urbanism and one of the panelists, said that stakeholders can provide a lot of green space, but it’s all about placement.

“We need the ingredients,” he said, referring to three P’s, which include people, profit and planet. “We also need diversity proximity and flexibility [at the street level]. You do see this in Chinatown. A lot of our more successful public spaces are our businesses, managed by private entities, including Bishop Square [in Downtown Honolulu].”

To help give context to the discussion, a three-dimensional model of Kakaako at the scale of 64 feet to the inch has returned for display at the center.

The model was prepared by graduate students at the University of Hawaii School of Architecture to show both existing buildings and the 29 projects proposed in the master plans of The Howard Hughes Corp. and Kamehameha Schools, scheduled for construction during the next 10 years.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News