Ward Village® Welcomes World Renowned Japanese Restaurant Nobu Honolulu

nobuChef Nobu Matsuhisa to Open Flagship Honolulu Restaurant in 2016

Today, Ward Village announced plans to welcome world renowned restauranteur Nobu Matsuhisa to the neighborhood. In late 2016, Nobu will move from Waikiki to a dramatic new space at the base of Waiea, Ward Village’s first flagship residential building.

“At Ward Village, we are curating an unmatched mix of design, retail and food experiences with Nobu serving as a culinary anchor for our community,” said David R. Weinreb, Chief Executive Officer of The Howard Hughes Corporation. “Nobu’s decision to move from Waikiki to Ward Village is significant as it moves us closer to our long term goal of becoming the new center of Honolulu.”

Nobu Honolulu will join an array of new restaurants and stores coming to Ward Village, including Merriman’s and Whole Foods Market, while offering its spin on contemporary Japanese cuisine with locally sourced fish and produce. The chefs will also showcase Nobu’s signature dishes such as Yellowtail Jalapeno, New Style Sashimi and Black Cod Miso.

“Ward Village is creating a new community in the heart of Honolulu that is unlike anything that exists in Hawaii,” said Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. “The combination of world class architecture, a walkable neighborhood and an authentic district of high quality shops, restaurants and entertainment offerings makes Ward Village a unique destination and the place to be in Honolulu.”

Early-morning fire reported at Howard Hughes condo project under construction in Honolulu



An early-morning fire on Wednesday was reported on a high floor of The Howard Hughes Corp.’s $403 million Waiea luxury condominium project under construction in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood.

Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Jenkins said fire crews first received a call at 4:57 a.m. about a two-alarm structure fire at 1044 Auahi St. He said the first responders arrived at 5:02 a.m. to find that there was a fire at the upper level of the Waiea project, which has been under construction since last summer.

Rob Centra, senior vice president of design and construction management at Ward Village for The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), said the fire occurred on the 21st floor of the Waiea project, which will eventually have 36 stories. Centra did not disclose the extent of any damage but did say the fire was not expected to delay construction or push back the building’s planned completion date in late 2016.

The isolated blaze was brought under control by 5:43 a.m. and fully extinguished two minutes later. No injuries were reported, and investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

“There were complications, since the building was under construction,” Jenkins told PBN on Wednesday morning. “The standpipe system did not go up to the area that was on fire, so the fire department utilized three fire extinguishers and a utility hose at the site to bring the fire under control.”

A damage estimate was not immediately available.

Darin Moriki
Pacific Business News

Luxury Honolulu condo Waiea foregoes … trash chutes?

A penthouse in the proposed Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.'s Ward Village in Honolulu, seen in this rendering has a price tag of $20 million, the developer said Friday.

A penthouse in the proposed Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Honolulu, seen in this rendering has a price tag of $20 million, the developer said Friday.

The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Waiea luxury condominium, currently under construction in the Texas-based developer’s 60-acre Ward Village in Kakaako, was designed and is being built without trash chutes, the developer confirmed to PBN.

The 36-story, 171-unit condo going up on a former parking lot across from the Ward Consolidated Theatres is one of the first high-rises in Honolulu to skip this common feature.

The developer’s other luxury condo, Anaha, being built diagonally across from Waiea on a former Pier 1 Imports site, has trash chutes.

Race Randle, vice president of development for The Howard Hughes Corp., told PBN in an email that Waiea has been designed with trash and recycling rooms on each floor, in lieu of trash chutes.

“This is based on common practice in luxury high-rise developments in cities such as Vancouver and London where trash and recyclables are conveniently collected by staff,” he said. “This proven method, which is being applied to Waiea, offers an added level of service to residents, ensuring effective service and encouraging recycling as part of our LEED Platinum neighborhood.”

When asked by PBN whether other planned condos in Ward Village would have trash chutes, the developer would not specify if any other projects would follow Waiea’s trash and recycling room design, only to say that this method may be applied to future buildings at Ward Village.

In its condo public report released in November, The Howard Hughes Corp. said that there would be no trash chutes in Waiea.

For at least two other condo developments currently under construction in Kakaako, Alexander & Baldwin Inc.’s The Collection and OliverMcMillan’s Symphony Honolulu, trash chutes are being incorporated into the projects, according to their condo public reports.

Waiea was designed by award-winning Vancouver-based architect James K.M. Cheng in collaboration with Honolulu architect Rob Iopa, president of WCIT Architecture.

Nordic PCL Construction is the general contractor for the project at 1118 Ala Moana Blvd.

Duane Shimogawa
Pacific Business News

Hawaii architect Rob Iopa shares the story behind the design of Kakaako’s Waiea tower

Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corp. The Waiea tower

Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corp.
The Waiea tower

The Waiea, The Howard Hughes Corp.’s luxury residential high-rise on Ala Moana Boulevard, will feature one of the most unique exterior designs among the high-rises in Kakaako, reflecting the area in which it is being built.

Rob Iopa, president of Honolulu’s WCIT Architecture, who had a major role in designing the tower on a former surface parking lot in Ward Village, shared with PBN the story behind the design.

“Essentially, it’s a story of two Hawaiian fishing gods, a father and son from Kauai, who stopped on every island to teach everyone to fish,” he said. “They stopped in Kakaako and found this as their home. When the father passed, he gave his son five fishing tools that were used by Hawaiians to fish. The tower was designed with this story in mind.”

The tower, Iopa said, has two segments, the taller and shorter parts, with a net that creates the glass facade.

“This land was part of the ocean,” he said. “The former shoreline was right where Ala Moana Boulevard is.”

Another part of the story is that the Waiea is a rare example of a local architectural firm playing a major role in the exterior design of a new Kakaako high-rise. Most of the design work is going to out-of-state firms. Find out why in PBN’s Friday print edition.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

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Howard Hughes Corp. says Honolulu luxury towers three-quarters sold

anaha_01The Howard Hughes Corp. said Monday that 88 percent and 78 percent of the units in its two luxury condominiums in Kakaako — 171-unit Waiea and 311-unit Anaha — werre under contract as of Feb. 1, according to the Dallas-based developer’s 2014 annual report.

Located on a former surface parking lot fronting Ala Moana Boulevard, diagonally across from Anaha’s site, Waiea is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Anaha, which is located on the former Pier 1 Imports site, is anticipated to be completed in 2017, The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) said.

As of Feb. 1, it has received $155.8 million in buyer deposits for Waiea and Anaha, which represent $854.4 million of contracted gross sales revenue.

Both towers are expected to cost about $804 million to develop.

The developer recently closed on $1.3 billion of property financings and refinancings, including a $600 million construction financing for Waiea and Anaha.

ONE Ala Moana, a 206-unit luxury condo located on Nordstrom’s parking garage, which was developed in a joint venture involving The Howard Hughes Corp., The MacNaughton Group and Kobayashi Group, closed on the sale of 201 of its units in the fourth quarter.

During 2014, the Texas-based developer also entered into a 20-year lease with Whole Foods Market to open a flagship store as part of a residential project in Kakaako.

Additionally, The Howard Hughes Corp. got approvals for the Ward Gateway condo towers to be built where Ward Warehouse is now located.

The company reported a profit of $111 million in 2014, up slightly from a profit of $109 million in 2013.

In the fourth quarter, it reported a profit of about $22 million, down from $44.4 million the same quarter in 2013.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

Building a village – How a big Texas corporation is remaking the face of Kakaako

This model in the Howard Hughes Corp. office previews the future look of the Kakaako skyline.

This model in the Howard Hughes Corp. office previews the future look of the Kakaako skyline.

For David Striph and Nick Vanderboom, transforming a major part of Honolulu into a mixed-use community has become personal.

The top Howard Hughes Corp. executives in Hawaii plan to call Ward Village home. And they want the 60-acre development in Kakaako to be a place where people want to live, work and play.

To that end, they are trying to make the giant Mainland-based corporation they work for part of the local community.

Ward Village, which in its first phase alone represents more than $1.25 billion in local economic impact and nearly 9,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout Oahu, is one of about 30 projects in 16 states for the Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp., which has approximately 1,000 employees and $5.3 billion in total assets.

Despite its size and lack of proximity to Hawaii, the company takes its Honolulu assets seriously, Striph and Vanderboom say.

“I have two young daughters,” said Striph, senior vice president of The Howard Hughes Corp., who oversee the company’s assets in Hawaii. “We’re hoping to create that environment where young people want to come back to and live.”

Vanderboom, senior vice president of development, who oversees the company’s strategic direction in Hawaii, agrees.

“It’s personal,” he told PBN. “All of us live here. It’s just building a place we are going to live in. We plan to be here a long time. We have our hands full with this project.”

Striph and Vanderboom began working on what is now Ward Village about four years ago. Two years later, they unveiled an urban master plan that includes four components on four separate blocks that eventually will double the retail, dining and entertainment space in Kakaako.

Ward Village has development rights for 22 high-rise towers and up to 9.3 million square feet of mixed-use space, including more than 4,000 residential units and about 1.5 million square feet for retail and other commercial use.

The redevelopment aims to create a distinctively different character for the neighborhood with new buildings along Ala Moana Boulevard being pulled back from the street, establishing what The Howard Hughes Corp. is calling a new face for the neighborhood.

“Dave and I have been here since the start,” Vanderboom said. “We spent a lot of time planning and preparing.”

Striph said that throughout the process it has brought on more than 40 people during the last four years, growing almost four-fold.

The Howard Hughes Corp., which acquired the property two years ago from Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc., the owner of nearby Ala Moana Center, turned its focus for Ward Village from retail to creating an overall community.

“Retail was [GGP’s] focus,” Striph said. “We try to create a community with a shopping aspect with wide sidewalks, bike paths and other features.”

Staying true to Hawaiian culture

During the planning phases, Striph said the company made a point to invite Hawaiian culture experts and other community members to get involved.

“We invited them to meetings and we were a very open book with everyone,” he said. “We asked them for their input. We were completely open.”

Striph noted that the company knew the area’s history, especially with GGP’s experience in 2008. The former owner of the Ward Village Shops discovered ancient human remains on the site, halting construction of a Whole Foods store. The grocery chain eventually pulled out of the project before the building was completed, but announced plans earlier this year to return to open its flagship Hawaii store as part of a mixed-use project in Ward Village.

“The group we consulted with, they aren’t anti-development and they acknowledged that this is the right place to do it,” Striph said.

Vanderboom said the company has done what it said it was going to do in terms of its Ward Village plan.

“If we do it right, they are completely supportive of it,” he said.

Another example of the company’s effort to infuse cultural aspects into Ward Village is through the architecture of its towers.

“We try to make sure our architects are able to keep the Hawaiian aspects,” Striph said. “We also volunteered to turn all of the buildings mauka to makai. We even adjusted the park, altered its axis and created a pathway to the harbor to Central Kakaako. We also shrank floor plates of the buildings.”

State Rep. Scott Saiki, D-McCully-Downtown, who lives in Kakaako, says he feels that The Howard Hughes Corp. wants to do a good job.

“I know they spent some time and resources initially, learning about the culture and history of Kakaako before they started to develop their plan,” he said. “They incorporated what they learned into their plans. Obviously, they have capital and I’m hopeful they will use capital for the larger community. In a sense, we are fortunate that a company with capital is willing to make investments here.”

Deep pockets

Striph pointed out that the company has lots of cash on hand and is able to execute on its development projects to get to the point to finance them.

Earlier this month, The Howard Hughes Corp. said it secured a $600 million construction loan from Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies to build its Waiea and Anaha condo towers.

Thus far, it has signed contracts for more than three-quarters of the 482 total units in Waiea and Anaha. As of Nov. 1, it had contractural agreements for about 84 percent of the units in its Waiea tower and 71 percent in its Anaha tower.

Pre-sales for its first two market-rate residential condominiums at Ward Village started on Feb. 1 of this year and, as of Nov. 1, the company had received $139 million in buyer deposits, representing $783 million of sales revenue, according to its third-quarter earnings report.

It also noted that, as of Sept. 30, it had spent $38 million in development costs for the construction of Waiea, with total development costs expected to be about $403 million when the project is complete.

In terms of Anaha, as of Sept. 30, the developer had spent $17.5 million in development costs for the project, and total costs will reach about $401 million when the tower at the former Pier 1 Imports site is finished in early 2017. Work on the Anaha started over the weekend.

The 206-unit ONE Ala Moana condo high-rise atop Nordstrom’s parking garage at Ala Moana Center, which is being developed in a 50/50 venture with Honolulu’s The MacNaughton Group and Kobayashi Group., is now about 87 percent complete with an expected opening by the end of this year.

Confidence in the market

“There is a huge unmet need for housing [and] we are trying to create housing for all types of income levels,” Striph said. “We are confident in the market.”

The Howard Hughes Corp. will stay with its plan in Hawaii, Striph said.

“[We’ll] keep marching through and listening to the community and taking that feedback and trying to improve the city,” he said. “We have this really unique opportunity to create something that’s never been created before.”

Jack Tyrrell, president of Honolulu-based Jack Tyrrell & Co. Inc., hopes The Howard Hughes Corp. will be in Hawaii for the long haul. He has accumulated $100 million in sales — 21 units in Waiea totaling $70 million and 17 units in Anaha totaling $30 million.

“They have this huge 60-acre drawing board that nobody has,” Tyrrell said. “They have the financial resources and expertise and motivation to create a remarkable, one-of-a-kind livable, workable, fun community.”

He said he has witnessed many local buyers, including people re-locating and investing, as well as Mainland China buyers and others from Chicago, California and Canada.

May Lew Tyrrell, executive vice president and marketing director for Jack Tyrrell & Co., said The Howard Hughes Corp. will have to meet everyone’s expectations and surpass expectations.

“I think they’re fully capable of doing that,” she said. “I think they will over-deliver to the buyers. They’ve got 22 projects over 20 more years. They cannot make any big mistakes, and I don’t think they will.”

The story behind the name

The Howard Hughes Corp. is named for the famed aviator, film director and recluse who was born in 1905 in Houston, Texas, and died in 1976 at the age of 70.

Hughes inherited his family’s successful oil tool business and began investing in films, including producing the hit “Hell’s Angels.”

He also got into real estate. In the 1950s, he acquired land in Las Vegas and developed the master-planned community of Summerlin, which he named for his grandmother, Jean Amelia Summerlin. A couple of decades later, the company was renamed the Summa Corp., and in 1994 it became The Howard Hughes Corp.

The Dallas-based real estate development and management firm was later sold to the Rouse Co. and became part of Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc., which owns Ala Moana Center. Emerging from bankruptcy, GGP spun off The Howard Hughes Corp. as a public company in November 2010, and it assumed ownership of all of GGP’s planned developments, including master-planned communities such as what is now known as Ward Village.

Today, The Howard Hughes Corp. is an independent company, traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HHC.”

The Howard Hughes Corp.
• Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas
• Owns, manages and develops commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate throughout the country, including master-planned communities, operating properties, development opportunities and other assets spanning from New York to Hawaii.
• About 1,000 employees

Top executives
David Weinreb, CEO
Grant Herlitz, President
William Ackman, Chairman of the Board

New York Stock Exchange: HHC
Stock earlier this week: $148.33 per share

As of Sept. 30, 2014:
• Total assets: $5.3 billion
• Total revenue: $119 million
• Net income: $51 million
• Developments in 16 states

Master-planned Communities
• Bridgeland (near Houston)
• Maryland
• Summerlin (near Downtown Las Vegas)
• The Woodlands (near Houston)

HHC Operating Properties
• Columbia Office Buildings (Maryland)
• 110 N. Wacker Drive (Downtown Chicago)
• Cottonwood Square (Utah)
• Landmark (Northern Virginia)
• Park West (Arizona)
• The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk (New Orleans)
• South Street Seaport (Lower Manhattan)
• Ward Centers (Now Ward Village Shops)
• Downtown Summerlin
• Woodlands Operating Properties

Strategic Developments
• 3 Waterway Square (Texas)
• Alameda Plaza (Idaho)
• ONE Ala Moana (Honolulu)
• AllenTowne (Dallas)
• The Bridges at Mint Hill (Charlotte)
• Maui Ranch Land (no plans to develop)
• Century Plaza (Alabama)
• Circle T Ranch (Dallas)
• Volo Land (Illinois)
• Cottonwood (Utah)
• The Outlet Collection at Elk Grove (California)
• Fashion Show Air Rights (Las Vegas)
• Kendall Town Center (Miami)
• Ward Village (Honolulu)
• West Windsor (New Jersey)

Source: The Howard Hughes Corp.

Ward Village Plan

The Howard Hughes Corp. plans to redevelop Ward Centers in Kakaako into Ward Village during the next decade.

The plan for the 60 acres includes adding 4,000 high-rise residential units and more than a million square feet of retail and commercial space, as well as open spaces and pedestrian-friendly streets.

Ward Village has received LEED Neighborhood Development Platinum certification, making the Honolulu project the nation’s largest LEED-ND Platinum-certified project and the only LEED-ND Platinum-certified project in the state.

The company has the development rights for 22 high-rises in Kakaako.

Phase One

Projected for completion in 2016, it includes development of three residential towers and a new sales and information center in the iconic IBM building.

The first phase represents more than $1.25 billion in local economic impact and thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Oahu, according to a study by ALH Urban & Regional Economics.

Phase Two

Early in its planning stages, this phase includes developing the first portion of Ward Village’s four-acre public park, which will be privately maintained and will open up a mauka-to-makai pedestrian connection from the center of Kewalo Basin Harbor to the heart of Ward Village. It will include water elements flowing toward the ocean, public seating, native plants and walkways.

It also includes Ward Village Gateway, the first mixed-use residential and commercial development project, which will be located at the gateway to Ward Village along Ala Moana Boulevard where Ward Warehouse is currently located.

The project, which the Hawaii Community Development Authority approved this week, will include a public park, two residential towers with 236 total units and about 20,000 square feet of retail along Auahi Street.

It also will include the Whole Foods-anchored project on the corner of Kamakee and Queen streets. This project includes a 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods and 12,000 square feet of additional retail space, as well as 466 residences.

Current projects

Ward Village Foundation: Launched in January with an initial commitment of $1 million to the local community over two years, the foundation, which has contributed $305,000 to local nonprofits thus far, is aimed at supporting “forward-thinking initiatives.”

Community events: They include the Kakaako Farmer’s Market, the Courtyard Cinema monthly film series, Ward Village weekly yoga series and Art+Flea.

Kewalo Basin Harbor: The Howard Hughes Corp. took over management of the Kewalo Basin Harbor in September and is considering redevelopment options for the aging small-boat harbor, including upgrading restrooms, adding food service and a convenience store for boaters, security and other improvements.

Ward Village Information Center and Sales Gallery: The center is located on the first level of the recently renovated IBM building, along with a sales gallery on the sixth level. The space is open to the public daily during regular business hours.

Waiea and Anaha: Currently underway are the first two residential towers at Ward Village. Waiea, located at 1188 Ala Moana Blvd. on the surface parking lot across from the movie theaters, broke ground in June and will have 171 residences. Anaha, located at 1108 Auahi St., recently broke ground on the former Pier 1 Imports site and will include 311 units. Both towers will include retail and restaurants fronting Kamakee and Auahi streets.

988 Halekauwila Street: Located across from Sports Authority on the corner of Ward Avenue and Halekauwila Street, this tower may include 424 residences, 375 of them priced for local residents with incomes at the reserved housing levels in Honolulu. It also is being considered as an affordable rental project.

Top Howard Hughes Corp.’s executives in Hawaii

David Striph , Senior Vice President

Striph oversees the company’s assets in Hawaii. He has more than 25 years of experience in commercial real estate and was previously a senior managing director at Westmount Realty Capital, a Dallas-based real estate investor. He also has held senior positions at Fortress Investment Group, Fremont Investment and Loan and Amresco Capital Trust. The former CPA is experienced in finance, acquisitions, and asset management.

He and his wife, Carole, moved to Hawaii from Dallas in January 2011. He is an avid boater, wakeboarder and wakesurfer and is a die-hard Jimmy Buffett fan.

Nick Vanderboom , Senior Vice President of Development

Vanderboom oversees the company’s strategic development in Hawaii. Before joining the company in 2010, he was vice president of development for TPMC California and earlier worked as an independent real estate consultant for Forest City Enterprises on mixed-use development projects in California, Nevada, Texas and Hawaii. He also worked at Allan D. Kotin & Associates, a Los Angeles-based real estate consulting firm specializing in public-private joint ventures.

Vanderboom earned a Master of Real Estate Development degree in 2007 from the University of Southern California and received his undergraduate degree in business from USC in 2006. He was a tight end on USC’s football team, winning two national championships and five Pac-10 (now Pac-12) championships.

Race Randle , Senior Director of Development in Hawaii

Randle oversees master planning and development within the 60-acre transformation of Ward Centers into the mixed-use community of Ward Village. He most recently managed residential development activities in Hawaii for Forest City Enterprises and Castle & Cooke Hawaii.

Bobbie Lau , Senior General Manager of Ward Village Shops

Lau supervises the day-to-day operations of The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Hawaii portfolio of properties, including contracted services, marketing, capital improvements, construction at existing assets, tenant relations and financial reporting.

Before joining the team at Ward Village, she was senior vice president of Colliers Monroe Friedlander, now known as Colliers International Hawaii, where she was responsible for the company’s property management division throughout the state for more than a decade.

Lau is vice president of the Kakaako Improvement Association and previously served on the boards of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Hawaii and the Institute of Real Estate Management, Hawaii Chapter.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

Howard Hughes Corp. secures $600M construction loan for Hawaii condo projects

remade_003The Howard Hughes Corp. said Monday it has secured a $600 million construction loan from Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies to built the Waiea and Anaha condominium towers at its Ward Village in Honolulu.

Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) broke ground on Waiea, across from the Ward Entertainment Center, in June, and started work Saturday on the Anaha tower, which will be built on the site of the former Pier 1 Imports store diagonally across the street.

Howard Hughes Corp. is also planning to build a Whole Foods Market-anchored mixed-use condo tower on the site of the former Nordstrom Rack less than a block away.

Staff Pacific Business News

Howard Hughes Corp. to present plans for Honolulu high-rise, Whole Foods Market store

The Howard Hughes Corp. plans to present its plans in November for a new mixed-use condominium high-rise in Kakaako at the former spot of Hawaii’s first Nordstrom Rack store, which will include a planned Whole Foods Market as part of the project.

The project, which will be located at 330 Kamakee St. and is part of the Texas-based developer’s Ward Village Master Plan, includes about 466 units in the tower, which will be built on a platform structure, according to the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency that oversees the redevelopment of the Honolulu neighborhood.

“The first phase of the Ward Village Master Plan has brought significant economic growth and increased community amenities to the neighborhood,” said David Striph, senior vice president for Hawaii for The Howard Hughes Corp. “As we move forward with the early planning stages for phase two, we have submitted an application to the Hawaii Community Development Authority for a sustainably-designed mixed-use project at 330 Kamakee Street.”

The project will have a combined total of 78,319 square feet of commercial space, 53,375 square feet of indoor and outdoor recreation space and 1,301 parking stalls.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHS), which is currently developing two other condo towers nearby, is asking for five modifications for its project, including one to adjust the tower view corridor setback along Queen Street and increase the maximum platform height to 75 feet, with an allowance of an additional 12 feet in height for 15 percent of the roof area that will be utilized for accessory uses.

“Our application includes a modification to rotate the project in order to preserve mauka to makai view planes in response to community input,” Striph said. “In addition to a flagship grocery store, phase two will include well-maintained public open spaces, complete streets and significant improvements to the neighborhood.”

The new Honolulu Whole Foods Market store will be located in the space currently occupied by an Office Depot and the former Nordstrom Rack behind the Ward Theatres complex. The 50,000-square-foot store, which will be the company’s largest location in the state, is slated to begin construction next year and be completed in 2017.

Last year, The Howard Hughes Corp. began the transformation of Ward Centers 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.

The 330 Kamakee project’s presentation hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5 at noon in Honolulu at 461 Cooke St.

There are two more hearings scheduled for the project, another on Nov. 6, which will be a modification hearing, and another on Jan. 7, 2015, which will be a decision-making hearing.

The Jan. 7 hearing will be located at a different venue from the presentation and modification hearings with it being held in Honolulu at 545 Queen St. on the second floor.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

Living on top of the world — Hawaii style

Amenities mean everything when money is no object

Howard Hughes Waiea In a model unit of the planned Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Kakaako, which will soon be home to two ultra-luxury condominium buildings called Waiea and Anaha, and where a yet-to-be-built penthouse.

“Wave at the toilet,” Shanefield, the project’s development manager, tells a guest.

With a flutter of the hand, the lid of the electric toilet, which is made by Toto and retails for around $2,500, opens as if by magic.

From start to finish, the user never has to touch the lavatory.

Welcome to the world of high-end amenities that are now becoming more and more standard in new condos and homes in Hawaii. While Waiea and Anaha won’t be ready for two years, sales began last month. And, while members of the sales team declined to disclose numbers, they say that units, ranging from 727 to 3,500 square feet and priced from $500,000 to more than $20 million, are selling at a brisk pace to high-end buyers who are flush with cash and who want the best in the latest high-end amenities.

What buyers are looking for now in amenities is function. They want all the “extras,” but not extras such as, say, a gift-wrapping room, or four-inch granite countertops that drive the price of a condo up, when a one-inch countertop will do.

They want things, but they want things that they will actually use.

Howard Hughes Waiea“Simplicity seems to be a theme for both the high-end clientele and your median-priced home buyer,” said Ryan MacLaughlin, a Realtor with Island Sotheby’s International Realty on Maui. “Both young and old are looking for the more comfortable, smaller-sized homes with amenities at their fingertips. They are not looking for the mega house or the five-car garage, or the Olympic-sized swimming pool. They seem to be driving their economically efficient car to their more conservative-sized smart home where they can run everything in the home from their iPhone or Pad, and be able to take a dip in their pool in their very private backyard.”

Indeed, but while they don’t want an Olympic-sized pool, they do want an infinity pool, which Anaha will have — in some units. And, if they don’t want a mega-sized home, they want one that makes them feel like they are truly living the quintessential Hawaii lifestyle. Many are moving in because he wants a place where he can maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“The first thing we capitalize on is the view or whatever natural attributes that are obvious,” said Peter Vincent of Peter Vincent Architects. “That’s timeless, but it continues to be a more casual lifestyle. People aren’t looking for a lot of formal spaces. People live in Hawaii because they like the casual lifestyle. There may be elegance, too, but typically they are not looking for formality and really embrace the outdoor lifestyle.”

More than ever, people are willing to pay for that lifestyle and the amenities that make that possible. That includes building homes that are open and airy, rather than compartmentalized.

Home buyers want “flexi-rooms” that can serve dual purposes.

“The key amenity is being outdoors,” said Race Randle, director of development for the Howard Hughes Corp. And that includes while showering, which is why outdoor showers are very popular in single-family homes.

Howard Hughes WaieaRob Kildow, principal broker of Hualalai Realty on the Big Island, sells homes at the resort that range from $5 million to $27 million. People who buy them want to feel like they are outside when they are inside, and vice-versa.

“There is no difference from being outside and inside,” he said.

Once inside, buyers want the best. Kitchens at the Hughes projects have quartzite countertops, with no visible handles on the cabinets. A wine cabinet near the refrigerator, which retails for around $8,000, holds 106 bottles. The Miele refrigerator, which retails for around $8,300, through the power of technology automatically lets a repairman know when it needs to be repaired.

Speaking of automation, it is now considered a standard amenity. With the widespread use of iPads and other tablet computers, everyone can open their blinds without touching them. They can control the temperature, and high-end security systems let them keep an eye on home while they are away.

While the kitchen has always been the hub of many a home, Marion Philpotts-Miller, a principal with Philpotts Interiors in Honolulu, said that is truer than ever today. Separate, alcoved dining areas are out. Developers are concentrating on installing the best appliances, particularly Miele. The Ward Village buildings have Miele ovens — a convection oven, a regular oven and a steam oven – that retail for around $2,000 to $3,000 each. They also feature Miele coffee systems that retail for around $3,000 that Randle calls the best in the world, along with a sliding warming tray for mugs.

Light serves as another functional amenity.

“They like the lighting systems that are much more sophisticated,” Philpotts-Miller said. “Between art lighting and pin stops on floral arrangements to the uplighting of coral walls, it’s become much more of an art and discipline.”

Outside the residences, the amenity levels of the Ward Village buildings include playgrounds, putting greens, open-air dining areas, steam rooms, bars, tennis and volleyball courts, cinemas, media rooms and libraries.

Another major condo project currently underway in Honolulu is ONE Ala Moana, which is being developed by a partnership of the Howard Hughes Corp., The MacNaughton Group and the Kobayashi Group. The building is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and will include a wine-tasting room as well as a chef’s kitchen where residents can host personal chef-inspired dinner parties.

Howard Hughes WaieaMuch of the work for these high-end projects is done off-island. For example, the primary architects and designers on the project are located on the Mainland, Randle said, because few firms on Oahu can handle such a large project by themselves.

Instead, Howard Hughes has contracted big-name architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz and James K.M. Cheng and paired them with local firms on Oahu, Benjamin Woo Architects and WCIT Architecture.

Randle said the pairings work because while the larger firms plan the overall grand vision of the buildings, the smaller firms are local and can handle the day-to-day issues that come up, such as making sure the buildings meet Hawaii building codes.

Despite the trend toward simplicity, many mega-rich buyers still want mega-amenities, and Kildow knows them well. He said the most over-the-top amenity he has seen is one homeowner who put in a $3 million kitchen.

Jeffrey Long, the founder of Honolulu architectural firm Long & Associates and known for his opulent homes, also has had some over-the-top requests.

“One homeowner requested that we design a Star Wars theater for his residence,” he said. “The result was spectacular, with a life-sized C-3PO and R2-D2 and blue LED lights. We also designed a home with an infinity pool on the upper level, right outside the living room, capturing the spectacular views.

Long said his firm also has had requests for water parks, indoor car displays and elevators that bring the cars up from the basement.

But one request really stands out.

“The craziest thing we [designed] for a client was a 20-person home bomb shelter,” he said.

Howard Hughes Corp. breaks ground on Waiea condo tower in Honolulu

From left, David Striph, senior vice president of Hawaii, the Howard Hughes Corp.; David Weinreb, president and CEO, the Howard Hughes Corp.; Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Mayor Kirk Caldwell; and Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development, the Howard Hughes Corp., at the groundbreaking for the Waiea condominium at the Ward Village master-planned community in Honolulu.

From left, David Striph, senior vice president of Hawaii, the Howard Hughes Corp.; David Weinreb, president and CEO, the Howard Hughes Corp.; Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Mayor Kirk Caldwell; and Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development, the Howard Hughes Corp., at the groundbreaking for the Waiea condominium at the Ward Village master-planned community in Honolulu.

Howard Hughes Corp. President and CEO David Weinreb was joined by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell Saturday for the groundbreaking on the Waiea condominium tower at Ward Village in Kakaako Saturday morning, with the governor saying that 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,” Abercrombie said to an audience of dozens that included future residents of the tower. He said the Ward Village represents a collaboration among political, economic and social circles that has never before existed in Hawaii.

If things go according to plan, that future includes two luxury towers— Waiea and Anaha — that will be built by the Howard Hughes Corp. and are geared toward higher-level income residents, as well as other, more affordable condominium towers that will eventually be built. Whole Foods Market (NYSE: WFM) recently announced that it will open a 50,000-square-foot store in Ward Village.

The project will have a total economic impact of $975 million and represents $2 million in annual property taxes for the City and County of Honolulu, said David Striph, senor vice president of Hawaii for the Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC).

Caldwell told PBN that the project has been almost 40 years in the making, since the Hawaii Community Development Authority was founded.

He said about $300 million has been put into infrastructure improvements and that Kakaako is ready for such a large project.

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.

The project represents the beginning of a new era for Honolulu, Caldwell said.

“We are on the cusp of becoming a capital for the Asia-Pacific area,” he said. “A true capital city we can all brag about.”

Bill Cresenzo Reporter – Pacific Business News

ANAHA - Click here for residence details and floor plans

ANAHA – Click here for residence details and floor plans

WAIEA - Click here for residence details and floor plans

WAIEA – Click here for residence details and floor plans