Chinese developer may build high-rise residential project near Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center

A Chinese developer has purchased property along Kapiolani Boulevard near Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, with possible plans to build a high-rise condominium project, the seller and the firm representing the buyer of the property confirmed with PBN on Friday.

Hong Kong’s Qinghua International Holdings Ltd. closed on the purchase this week of a nearly 30,000-square-foot parcel at 1338 Kapiolani Blvd. for about $15.4 million, nearly triple the amount four Hawaii partners paid for the property 10 years ago.

Ron Lee, a principal for Honolulu-based Real Estate Inc. Hawaii, who is one of the partners for the sellers, told PBN that the Chinese developer is also under contract to buy the next-door property to possibly build a residential project in a joint venture with a local developer.

“They want to build something in the future,” he said. “[They buyer] made an unsolicited offer to buy our property. We had an offer for $15 million from another Chinese investor, but that fell through.”

Honolulu-based Anna International Realty represented the buyer in the sale, and its president, Anna Achauer, told PBN that it is under contract to buy the property next door at 1356 Kapiolani Blvd. in a deal that’s expected to close next week.

She also confirmed that Qinghua International is looking into possibly building a residential project that would be part of transient-oriented development in the area.

The property, which has prime Kapiolani Boulevard frontage, adjoins two streets, Kapiolani Boulevard and Makaloa Street, and includes a one-story building.

Not too far away along Kapiolani Boulevard, South Korea-based SamKoo Development is looking into possibly building two mixed-use high-rise projects with a total of 1,000 units consisting of both affordable and moderately-priced units, as first reported by PBN.

Further down Kapiolani Boulevard near the Hawaii Convention Center, a partnership between Los Angeles developer Jim Ratkovich, Bill Witte, president of Salem Partners of Los Angeles and Japan’s Kaijima Kagaku USA Inc., is planning to develop a mixed-use high-rise project that could include a hotel, as first reported by PBN.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

Korean developer plans two 45-story condo towers near Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center

A South Korean developer is moving ahead with two mixed-use high-rise projects near Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center, a total of nearly 1,000 units consisting of both affordable and moderately-priced units, the company’s president confirmed to PBN on Thursday.

“We are in the process of developing two projects on both sites,” Timothy Yi, president of SamKoo Pacific LLC, the Hawaii subsidiary of SamKoo Development, told PBN.

The first project, which is located on a parcel it owns at 1631 Kapiolani Blvd., will include 485 units in a 45-story tower, with 60 percent of the units affordable and the balance moderately-priced units. There will be one- two- and three-bedroom units.

Yi said that it hopes to start construction on the 1631 Kapiolani project by the end of the year.

SamKoo Pacific still needs approvals from the Honolulu City Council and the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corp., he said, noting that both projects’ heights will be under 400 feet.

No general contractor has been chosen for both projects, although Honolulu’s Design Partners is the architect.

Lowell Chun, a consultant for the developer, told PBN Thursday that SamKoo wants to establish its brand as a developer that could offer real quality for this segment of the market.

“It’s an affordable housing project near the available conveniences,” he said, referring to the first tower in line to be developed.

The second tower at 1391 Kapiolani Blvd., on a parcel it owns, at this time mirrors the first one, with 485 units in a 45-story tower with both affordable and moderately-priced units, but is still a work in progress.

“We’re not sure what project will take shape on the second tower,” Chun said, noting that the market will dictate what type of price structure and other features the tower will have.

Yi pointed out that the developer hopes to finish both projects within five years, first 1631 Kapiolani and then 1391 Kapiolani, a 1.43-acre car lot formerly owned by Motor Supply Co. that SamKoo bought in 2007 for $26 million.

As it stands now, there would be commercial spaces at the street level of the towers.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

Korean developer may build mostly affordable condo tower behind Ala Moana Center

A South Korean developer that once proposed to build a luxury high-rise condominium behind Ala Moana Center in Honolulu on land it bought in 2007 is deliberating on what would be the best thing to do with the site, including switching it to a mostly affordable project, the local consultant for the developer told PBN on Tuesday.

South Korea’s SamKoo Development is looking into whether a mostly affordable project would work or not, but no decision has been made just yet, according to Lowell Chun, the consultant for the developer.

“They are running the numbers,” he told PBN.

Chun, who said SamKoo Development is not ready yet to submit its plan to the City and County of Honolulu just yet, noted that a decision to scrap the project altogether, which also is on the table, also has not been made yet.

The site also sits along the city’s planned rail station line.

“I think it would be nice to have something there,” he said. “It’s got to make business as well as aesthetic and community sense. [SamKoo’s] chairman really likes Hawaii.”

The sale of the 1.43-acre car lot formerly owned by Motor Supply Co. at 1391 Kapiolani Blvd. for $26 million was the 13th largest transaction in 2007.

The $417 per square foot SamKoo paid for the lot set a record at that time.

In February, SamKoo Hawaii filed a building permit with the City and County of Honolulu for a new $190 million condominium building at the site at 1391 Kapiolani Blvd.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

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

Kobayashi-MacNaughton’s new Honolulu luxury condo project gets nod from neighborhood board

The planned Vida at 888 Ala Moana luxury condominium tower being developed by the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group received neighborhood board approval Tuesday night.

The planned Vida at 888 Ala Moana luxury condominium tower being developed by the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group received neighborhood board approval Tuesday night.

This Project Is Currently In The Planning and Approval Phase – Please use the contact form below to be added to our ‘Interest List’ and receive updates when available

Hawaii developers the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group have received approval from the Ala Moana/Kakaako Neighborhood Board to move ahead with its Vida at 888 Ala Moana luxury condominium high-rise on a 3.5-acre site in Honolulu.

The cost of to the develop the project hasn’t been disclosed. PBN first reported on the project, which is part of Kamehameha Schools’ “Our Kakaako” master plan and still needs the approval from the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

Kamehameha Schools’ master plan proposes seven residential towers with 2,750 units and 300,000 square feet of commercial space on 29 acres on nine city blocks.

MK Development, a joint venture of the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group, purchased six acres from the state’s largest private landowner for an undisclosed price to develop two ultra-luxury mixed-use residential projects totaling about 500 units along the mauka side of Ala Moana Boulevard.

Vida at 888 Ala Moana, which will be built on a site currently occupied by a Cutter Mazda automobile dealership and service center, is one of the projects. Sales prices for the project remain preliminary, but are projected to be about $600 to $2,500 per square foot, which would be comparable to the per-square-foot sales prices per square foot at another Kobayashi-MacNaughton project, ONE Ala Moana.

The 38-story Vida tower will include 265 two- and three-bedroom units and will be designed by Los Angeles-based Arquitectonica and Honolulu-based Ben Woo Architects, which will be helping the project seek LEED certification with an energy-efficient design and features.

Amenities for the project include guest suites, movie theaters, dining rooms with a chef’s kitchen, children’s play areas, game rooms and a putting green.

Heyer & Associates LLC will be handling sales of the project, which is scheduled to begin later this year.

The Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group also developed the Hokua and Capitol Place mixed-use projects in Honolulu, and are also working on a project that includes seven ultra-luxury condominium towers planned for what is now a parking area of Ala Moana Center fronting Ala Moana Boulevard called Park Lane Ala Moana, with a development cost of about $300 million, according to public records.

The project, which was first reported by PBN, is scheduled to start in mid-2014, with a completion date in 2016.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News



The planned Vida at 888 Ala Moana luxury condominium tower being developed by the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group received neighborhood board approval Tuesday night.

The planned Vida at 888 Ala Moana luxury condominium tower being developed by the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group received neighborhood board approval Tuesday night.

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More towers on the rise – Three developers present the neighborhood board with proposals for a half-dozen new projects

20140529_a1big20140529_progressKakaako is in the middle of a residential tower development wave that builders see as meeting overwhelming homebuyer demand, but some area residents see as crowding their quality of life.

Well, don’t look now, but another wave is on the way.

Three developers have unveiled plans to seek permits later this year for six more residential towers in or on the edge of Kakaako with more than 1,000 new units.

Four of the new towers are part of the Ward Village master plan by Ward Centers owner Howard Hughes Corp. One is part of the Our Kakaako master plan by Kamehameha Schools. And one is adjacent to Ala Moana Center and the city’s planned rail station there.

The six new projects are on top of 15 towers in or on the outskirts of Kakaako with a combined total of roughly 5,400 units under construction, permitted, in permitting or recently completed.

Local housing market analyst Ricky Cassiday said the newest tower plans reflect an eagerness by developers to meet market demand and perhaps get projects approved before state lawmakers have an opportunity next year to change Kakaako development rules in response to public outcries as they did earlier this year.

“Developers like certainty, and change is in the air,” Cassiday said. “There is the political cycle next to the economic cycle.”

Local economists have said that Hawaii population growth is outstripping housing production, and that even 5,000 condominiums delivered over the next two years will make only a dent in the shortage.

Far fewer homes are being built elsewhere in Honolulu — mainly single-family houses and townhomes in the suburbs — making Kakaako ground zero for housing production on Oahu.

Eugene Tian, the state’s chief economist, recently said that 3,525 new homes need to be added on Oahu annually to match an anticipated population growth of 1 percent, assuming 2.8 people per household. Over the past three years, 1,612 residential units were approved for construction per year on average, which leaves a deficit of 1,913 homes.

“We are behind,” Tian said.

Cassiday agrees that there is strong demand from residents forming families, though he also said added demand is coming from part-time residents and investors outside Hawaii.

“There is an inexhaustible demand from abroad,” he said. “Things have been under­supplied for a very long time.”

The most aggressive developer in Kakaako responding to such demand appears to be Hughes Corp. with its Ward Village plan that envisions up to 4,300 residential units in 22 towers covering 60 acres at Ward Centers.

Hughes Corp. has three towers with 915 combined units already approved and slated to begin construction later this year. On Tuesday, the company told the Ala Moana-Kakaako Neighborhood Board that it plans to seek permits later this year for another four towers.

Two of the new Ward Village towers have a combined 230 units, including some low-rise townhomes, and replace most of Ward Warehouse along Ala Moana Boulevard.

Another tower with 220 units would be just Ewa of the Ward Entertainment Center theaters.

A fourth tower with an undetermined number of units is planned next to a recently announced Whole Foods store mauka of the theaters.

This four-tower second phase of Ward Village also includes retail and a large landscaped pedestrian plaza around which the four towers are planned, according to Nick Vanderboom, vice president of development for Hughes Corp.

“This will be the start of what will be about a 4-acre village green connecting Kewalo Basin up to where the future rail stop will be near where Ross is today,” he told the board.

a couple of blocks away, Kamehameha Schools is working with local development firm The Kobayashi Group to build a 265-unit tower on a 3.5-acre site occupied by Cutter Nissan between Ala Moana Boulevard, Koula Street and a closed-off portion of Auahi Street.

Matthew Pennaz, a Kobayashi Group senior project manager, speaking at the same neighborhood board meeting on Tuesday, said the company considers the block the “crown jewel” of nine blocks in the Our Kakaako master plan.

“We’re excited to be part of the community,” he said.

Pennaz said a price range for tower units hasn’t been determined yet. Cassiday, however, said a tower on that site most certainly would be a luxury product.

Both the Our Kakaako tower and Ward Village towers will need approval from the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency regulating development in Kakaako.

Existing residents in the area, many of whom live in condos next to proposed towers, have complained about the agency “rushing” public hearings on tower permits over the past couple of years, and contend that more towers can’t be supported by infrastructure such as roads and sewers.

HCDA officials insist that sufficient sewer capacity was created to handle all the proposed development under a 4-decade-old vision to concentrate dense urban development in Kakaako that relieves pressure on rural and agricultural lands on Oahu.

The city considers sewer and water connection requests per project, and has approved all of them to date.

The developers will need to produce traffic studies and mitigation plans. The projects are likely to slow traffic in the area, but not to an extent that would keep them from proceeding, based on past decisions regarding other developments.

The issue of rapid development in Kakaako led to several bills introduced in January at the Legislature, including one calling for a moratorium on development in the area and one abolishing HCDA. Only one bill passed, and will reconstitute the agency’s board of directors next year among other more minor changes.

Larry Hurst, area neighborhood board chairman, is supportive of HCDA’s mission established by the Legislature in 1976.

“All those years ago, Kakaako was (thought of as) the place to get people to live in the (primary urban core),” he said. “When it finally comes (close to happening), only the newbies start talking. I ask people, ‘Where have you been for 37 years?’ It’s like, you can’t move in next to a hospital and then start complaining about the ambulance.”

The third new project presented to the neighborhood board Tuesday is a 234-unit tower slated at 1391 Kapiolani Blvd. next to Ala Moana Center a block Ewa of the Nordstrom store fronting Kapiolani, Kona Street and Kona Iki Street just outside Kakaako’s Piikoi Street border.

In 2007, an affiliate of South Korea-based SamKoo Development Co. Ltd. bought the 1.4-acre site that formerly hosted a car dealership and announced plans for a luxury condo tower. However, Hawaii’s real estate market was approaching a turndown in the face of a recession and the project was put on hold.

Lowell Chun, a consultant for SamKoo, told the board that the developer has revised its plan to fit with the city’s new rail station that will be the Honolulu terminus of the line from Kapolei.

“It’s a rail line anchor,” he said. “It’s a destination.”

Chun said SamKoo is offering to provide a slice of its property along Kona Street for rail use, and would like to create a public area with commercial shops on the tower site integrated with the city’s rail station.

“We are right there,” he said. “What we would like to create is a landmark building for this landmark location — something that signifies that this is someplace special.”

Chun said SamKoo hopes to submit a permit application with the city within the next few months under interim transit-oriented development rules pending before the City Council, provided the rules are adopted.

A maximum height under interim rules being considered would be 450 feet, up from the site’s existing 250-foot limit, though Chun said the 1391 Kapiolani tower is planned to rise 420 feet.

The Neighborhood Board did not vote on the projects.

Developers of the three projects all expect to seek permits this year but did not project construction timetables if their towers are approved.

New Kaka’ako condos to go on sale

The-Collection-Artist-Rendering-with-The-Lofts-callout-jpgNew Kaka’ako condos to go on sale

HONOLULU —Developer Alexander and Baldwin just unveiled the newest phase of their Kaka’ako project dubbed the Collection.

It will include 48 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom condos with a starting price around $350,000.

“A&B Properties, Inc. is thrilled to offer these contemporary loft-style homes with both design and price set to appeal to young professionals, new families, college students, and truly anyone looking for the affordable urban-lifestyle,” said A&B Properties President Christopher Benjamin.

The project has Hawaii Community Development Authority and neighborhood board approval.

Sales will begin in the summer.

The condos will be offered for purchase without income or re-sale conditions.
Read more:

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.”

Hawaii agency approves second tower on former Honolulu Advertiser site

Dec 4, 2013, 2:30pm HST

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

The state agency overseeing the redevelopment of the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako on Wednesday approved a second workforce housing condominium project on the site of the former Honolulu Advertiser building on a vote of 6-0 after hours of public testimony and discussions.

801-south-st-renderingcourtesy 550The Hawaii Community Development Authority’s vote to approve the second phase of the 801 South St. project was not unanimous — one board member abstained from voting because he had to leave early and two others were excused.

About 40 people had signed up to testify, while a host of others who didn’t sign up were given a chance to give their say once the people who had signed up finished testifying, said Lindsey Doi, spokeswoman for the HCDA.

The HCDA board, amongst a standing-room only crowd, addressed concerns by some in the public regarding the affordability and other issues of the 410-unit project, which is being developed by Hawaii developer Marshall Hung’s Downtown Capital LLC.

HCDA Executive Director Anthony Ching said that an affordability study recently done by some Kakaako residents on the project does not add up by pointing out that the interest rate that’s used in the study is not what the HCDA has used to analyze the project.

The preliminary prices for the one- and two-bedroom units are between $360,000 and $575,000 with three bedroom units priced below $700,000.

The second proposed tower, which would include an accompanying 10-story parking garage, is part of the 801 South St. project, whose first phase of 635 units is sold out.

Together, the two towers are expected to have a total of more than 1,000 units.

The 801 South St. project is expected to cost $400 million to develop and will create 350 construction jobs.

The second tower or “Tower B” will include a partial demolition of the back portion of the existing Honolulu Advertiser building, which was once used as a soundstage for the CBS crime drama “Hawaii Five-0.”

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.”