Jack Tyrrell specializes in Kakaako, Honolulu, Hawaii luxury condo projects.

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Whale-watching Season in Hawaii

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, February 22, 2019

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, February 22, 2019

The warm and shallow waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands are a favorite destination for kohola, or humpback whales. Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population return to Hawaii to breed, calve and nurse their young. They race more than 3,000 miles from the Gulf of Alaska to Hawaii.

The whale watching season is usually under way by mid-December and lasts until April or May, with the ideal months for watching typically being February and March. While whale watching is ideal on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai islands, humpback whales can be seen on Oahu from the shoreline of Waikiki, Makapuu Lighthouse, and along the seaside overlooks near Diamond Head.

Recently, my social media manager was able to encounter a mother whale and her calf off of the shores of Diamond Head during sunset, as shown in the photo above and in this video here. The crew was sailing, when they were startled by the sound of a whale spouting water. To their happy surprise, the mother whale and her calf were peacefully swimming about 100 feet from their boat. The captain observed their behavior to ensure no signs of distress or defensiveness. When no such behavior was observed, it was determined safe for the crew to remain where it was. The whales continued on their way, spouting water about two more times before swimming farther away. The observation was a fleeting, but beautiful and memorable moment. Witnessing these majestic creatures takes a lot of patience and respect, as well.

If you can't spot them from the shore, boat tours would be your best shot at getting closer to them. Luckily, there are many boat operators on Oahu that host whale watching tours. A few choices are listed below:

Whale-watching is truly an unforgettable experience that we highly recommend anyone in Hawaii do during the season!

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Home prices on Oahu rise 4% over last 12 months, Locations report says

Photo property of Jack Tyrrell and Company

Photo property of Jack Tyrrell and Company

Over the last 12 months ending in January 2019, prices for condominiums rose by 2 percent, signalizing a slowly stabilizing market. Read more from Pacific Business News, below:

The median price of a single-family home on Oahu over the 12 months ending in January increased by 4 percent, compared to the previous 12-month period, while the median price of a condominium rose by 2 percent, reflecting prices that have stabilized, according to a report from the Honolulu residential real estate firm Locations. 

The median price of a single-family home during the 12-month period from Feb. 1, 2018 until Jan. 31 was $790,000, while the median condo price for the same period was $420,000, Locations said.  

Sales, however, declined during that period, by 9 percent for single-family homes and by 4 percent for condos. 

“When assessing the real estate market, it’s important to consider the long view, as monthly data alone can be misleading,” Locations President Scott Higashi said in a statement. “Over the past 12 months, median prices have stabilized, and inventory has increased in most Oahu neighborhoods.” 

Higashi noted that prospective buyers should act now since interest rates, which are at the lowest point in 10 months, are expected to rise this year. 

For the month of January, Locations reports 250 sales of single-family homes, a 4 percent decrease from the same month last year, while the median price was $768,000, a 2 percent decline. For condos, Locations reports a 15 percent drop in the number of sales to 327 units sold, while the median condo price fell 9 percent to $399,000.

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Ward Village Serves as Arts Hub, Winter - Spring 2019

Photo: Pow! Wow! Hawaii

Photo: Pow! Wow! Hawaii

As Ward Village continues to develop into a first-class master planned community, Howard Hughes has also fostered the creation of a thriving community. Part of this effort includes welcoming Honolulu’s artistic community into the neighborhood. There are a slew of upcoming art events happening in Ward Village this Winter and Spring! Read more below:

  • Ukulele Picnic, February 10, 2019: Ukulele Picnic in Hawaii was founded by the renowned Japanese musician & Ukulele music scene pioneer in Japan, Kazuyuki Sekiguchi from the band Southern All Stars. From the inaugural picnic in 2009, it has attracted more than 5000 people, and has become a fun music event for whole family! For the first time, the picnic was held in the brand-new Victoria Ward Park.

  • Pow! Wow! Hawaii, February 8 - February 22, 2019: Beginning in 2011 in Honolulu, Pow! Wow! Hawaii centers around murals and art. The festival has grown into a global network of artists and organizes art exhibitions, lecture series, schools for art and music, creative community spaces, concerts, and live art installations across the globe. Over the span of about three weeks, the festival brings over a hundred international and local artist together to create murals and other forms of art. As a home grown and independent art festival, POW! WOW! is now recognized as one of the most premier and well-curated art festivals in the world. POW! WOW! currently has festivals in over 15 cities that includes Honolulu, Austin, Washington D.C., Long Beach, Lancaster, Worcester, Israel, San Jose, Tokyo, Kobe, Taipei, Guam, Rotterdam, Kathmandu, Okayama, Tokyo, and Seoul.

  • Honolulu Biennial 2019, March 8 - May 5, 2019: The inaugural Honolulu Biennial occurred in 2017, and was a hit. This year’s festival is called “To Make Wrong / Right / Now,” and will bring together 19 artists and artist groups from Hawaii and 29 artists and artist groups from the Pacific, Asia. They’ll exhibit work at over a dozen locations across O’ahu, such as the Ali’iolani Hale, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Foster Botanical Garden, and Honolulu Museum of Art, with the hub located at Ward Village.  Co-curated by Scott Lawrimore and Nina Tonga. Follow their Facebook for updates as the date gets closer.

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Honolulu's Chinatown celebrates Chinese New Year

year of the boar cny 2019.jpg

Happy Year of the Boar! Celebrations in Honolulu kicked off February 2, 2019 with a large street fair in Chinatown. There were many activities, such as the traditional lion dance, various food vendors, and more.

Read more from Pacific Business News, below, including information on other celebrations going on across the island:

Chinatown was the place to be Friday and Saturday as events, streets fairs and open houses celebrating Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Pig. Click here for a slideshow of Saturday's festivities.

Events were organized by Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Chinatown Merchants Association and Honolulu Chinese Jaycees. In PBN's new Book of Lists, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce on Hawaii was the Islands' sixth largest chamber, with 396 members.

Is it the Year of the Pig, or the Boar? Depends on where you're going to celebrate at upcoming events this month. Mililani Shopping Center is going with Year of the Pig this Friday; while Ala Moana Center simply says Chinese New Year for its Feb. 7 - 9 events, though its marketing features a tuskless pig; and International Marketplace is going with Boar for events on Feb. 10 at International Marketplace.

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Honolulu construction costs 4th highest in the world, RLB report shows

Photo Credit: Jack Tyrrell and Company. Pictured above is Honolulu’s flagship Whole Foods Market and Aeʻo, which were both completed in 2018.

Honolulu construction costs continue to be some of the highest in the world. According to Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), Honolulu’s construction costs in 2018 were the 4th highest in the world. Despite the high costs, market trends do not show a slow down in construction. In Ward Village alone, two residential towers are planned for completion in 2019.

Read more from Pacific Business News, below:

Honolulu’s construction cost increases over the last year were the lowest in the nation, but the costs to build make Hawaii’s largest city the fourth-highest in the world, according to recent reports by Rider Levett Bucknall.

Oslo, Norway, topped RLB’s global construction cost relativity index in its construction cost report for the fourth quarter, and was followed by San Francisco, New York, Honolulu, then Paris.

RLB bases its index on the local costs of standard building models or basket of goods, using the same quantities and specifications in local currencies.

In its fourth quarter report for North America, RLB noted that construction-put-in-place in the United States in October was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.3 billion, which was 4.9 percent higher than the October 2017 estimate of $1.247 billion.

Honolulu had the lowest rate of change among 12 U.S. cities at 1.92 percent for RLB’s comparative construction costs, which track the true cost of construction, including labor, materials, contractor overhead costs and sales and use taxes.

Chicago had the largest increase at 7.22 percent, followed by Phoenix at 6.63 percent and Portland, Oregon, at 6.62 percent. Those two cities had the third- and fourth-lowest costs in the nation; Las Vegas had the lowest costs, followed by Denver.

Meanwhile, Ride Levett Bucknall’s crane index report for January found the number of construction cranes in Honolulu has dropped by nearly one half since last spring, ranking the city 10th among 11 U.S. cities.

Honolulu had six tower cranes in operation as of November, compared to 11 in May when the city also ranked at No. 10, on the biannual index released last week. Phoenix once again had the fewest cranes at five, which Seattle came in at No. 1 with 59, which was a decrease from 65 cranes last summer.

RLB attributed the drop to the number of projects marking completion during the second half of 2018, which included The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Aeo, Sam Koo’s Kapiolani Residence and The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach.

The report also noted that because of changes at the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting, “hotel owners and developers and pushing their planned projects forward to accommodate the longer processing time, which may lead to an increase in the crane count towards the end of 2019.”

Honolulu’s crane count has steadily declined from a high of 22 on the July 2015 index, according to RLB. However, several high-rise projects getting set to start vertical construction this year, including Brookfield Properties’ Lilia Waikiki and ProsPac Holdings’ Azure Ala Moana, could boost the count by next summer.

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Sixth Howard Hughes condo, Kō'ula, goes on sale

Starting the new year on a strong note, Howard Hughes’ next condo development, Kō'ula, is officially on sale to the public on Saturday, January 5, 2019. We are especially excited about this development, as it is designed to integrate the natural outdoor beauty of Honolulu to the indoors. It will be the first development located along the new Victoria Ward Park. The development has already won design awards, and will likely sell fast. Units range from a studio with approximately 300 square feet to three-bedroom apartments with 1,500 square feet. Prices range from the mid-$500,000s to $2 million.

Contact me directly to learn more and with assistance in choosing the best unit for you!

Read more from The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, below:

Units in another new Kakaako condominium built by the Howard Hughes Corp. are going on sale.

The Kō'ula condo tower will have 565 units and sit adjacent to the new Victoria Ward Park, where a pop-up LED flower garden now resides, on Auahi Street. The 41-story building was designed by architect Jeanne Gang and her Studio Gang.

Units range from a studio with approximately 300 square feet to three-bedroom apartments with 1,500 square feet. Prices range from the mid-$500,000s to $2 million.

It is the sixth building to be developed in Ward Village. Kō'ula will be built just Ewa of Howard Hughes’ Ae‘o condominium, which opened to residents last month and has a Whole Foods Market on the bottom floors.

Under a master plan for Ward Village, Hughes Corp. envisions building 16 towers and 1 million square feet of retail on its 60-acre property.

“The quality is really high, and the design, I think, integrates really well with Hawaii,” said Bonnie Wedemeyer, vice president of sales for the Howard Hughes. “We’re bringing the best designers together.”

Interior designs, created by Yabu Pushelberg, are more neutral colors to give the homes a more “organic, earthy feeling,” Wedemeyer said.

“We wanted to make sure the project brought the outdoors in,” said Wedemeyer.

The design of Kō'ula , which means red sugar cane, allows each unit to curve toward the ocean.

“Studio Gang actually tilted the homes towards the ocean, so they will be bent towards the ocean,” Wedemeyer said. “And when they do that it creates this really nice view and a more natural light.”

The condos can be purchased fully furnished. Amenities include a swimming pool, children’s playroom, spa, fitness club, event spacing and cabanas.

A sales office will open Saturday, but Wedemeyer said early sales have been “robust.”

Kō'ula, a name given by Sig Zane Designs, will be the first building to sit on the 1.5-acre Victoria Ward Park.

Groundbreaking for the new building is slated to take place sometime later this year.

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Luxury condo sales in Honolulu outpace houses in November

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company

Sales of luxury condominiums outpaced sales of luxury single-family homes in November 2018. .“For condominiums, the $1.5 to $2 million price range had the strongest performance, up 50 percent, six compared to four last year,” Patti Nakagawa, Global Luxury director for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, said in a statement.

These numbers show that demand and interest for luxury condominiums continue to remain high. We continue to stay ahead of and on-trend in this market, and would love to talk real estate with you about what to look forward to in 2019!

Read more from Pacific Business News, below:

Sales of luxury homes on Oahu were relatively flat overall in November, compared to last year, but sales of high-end condominiums outpaced sales of single-family homes for $1.5 million or more, according to a report by Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties.

Overall, there were 39 residential properties sold for $1.5 million or more, compared to 38 sold in November 2017, an increase of 3 percent. The median price of those single-family homes and condos was $1.98 million, an increase of 9 percent from $1.8 million last year.

Of those, 11 sales were for luxury condos, with the highest sale being for $11.07 million on Nov. 29 for a three-bedroom, 3.5-bath unit at Park Lane Ala Moana. That’s compared to nine luxury condos sold during the same month last year, an increase of 22 percent.

There were 28 single-family homes sold for $1.5 million or more in November, compared to 29 sold in November 2017, a decline of 3 percent. The highest prices last month were $9.88 million for a seven-bedroom, five-bath house in Lanikai that sold before it was listed and $7.2 million for a five-bedroom, 5.5-bath home on Kahala Avenue.

“Single-family home sales in the lower price range of $1.5 to $2 million were down by 24 percent, 16 compared to 21 last November, mainly attributable to a lack of desirable inventory in that price range,” Patti Nakagawa, Global Luxury director for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, said in a statement. “For condominiums, the $1.5 to $2 million price range had the strongest performance, up 50 percent, six compared to four last year.”

The report noted that escrow activity for luxury properties at the end of November was 10 percent lower than the same time a year ago.

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Ward Village Light Garden

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company

The long-awaited Victoria Ward Park is now open, and its opening is starting off with a bright bang! Through January 31st, 2019, visit the Light Garden by Symmetry Labs - an art installation of a field of luminous flowers that change color as it reacts to music. The Light Garden invites exploration and engagement while sparking a sense of whimsy and wonder. The garden is family-friendly, free, and open to the public.

“Inspired by the Hawaiian flora, Light Garden, a 1,000-Year Bloom features over 25,000 LED lights in more than 2,300 floral 3D sculptures spanning 9,500 square feet, and is Symmetry Labs’ largest-scale work to date,” organizers said.

The garden will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily. We were honored to be there for opening weekend. The garden will re-open to the public on December 21 and remain open through January 31, 2019. Music concerts, pop-up markets, and events are planned during its limited time run, so make sure to follow us on social media to stay updated!

Victoria Ward Park

Built on the site of the former Ward Warehouses, we are especially excited for the completion of the Victoria Ward Park and believe it will be a huge asset to the Ward Village community. With the addition of this public open space, which is sure to be the heart of the neighborhood, Ward Village moves closer to completing its vision of a truly “live, work, play” lifestyle for people of all ages.

Watch below as Kumu Hina blesses the park:

Photo: Newly completed Ae`o in view from Victoria Ward Park.

“Today, former warehouses and concrete give way to an acre and a half of lush grass with native plants and a grove of coconut trees reminiscent of the original Ward Estate,” said Todd Apo, Senior Vice President of Community Development at The Howard Hughes Corporation. “Victoria Ward Park represents the dedication to preserve original elements of Ward’s legacy, a guiding vision to create a modern day haven in urban Honolulu.”

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Kakaako condo Ae‘o ready for owners

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

Ae‘o is officially welcoming its first owners! Congratulations to the owners who were able to move in this past Thursday, December 6, 2018. Owners will be moving into their units throughout the month.

Ae‘o is the first Ward Village condo development to completely sell out. However, I do have one unit for sale and a few units for rent. If you are interested, contact me now, as interest for the brand-new building is high!

Read more from the Honolulu Star Advertiser below:

Chris Laniauskas is an occasional Whole Foods Market shopper, but that likely will change soon when he takes up residence in a tower connected to the natural food retailer’s flagship Hawaii store in Kakaako.

The local insurance company executive was part of an initial group of about 150 new condominium owners in the Ae‘o high-rise at Ward Village who picked up their keys Thursday and will move into the 38-story tower over the next few weeks.

By late January all 466 owners in the sold-out building are scheduled to take possession of their new homes, which cost $1 million on average.

Ae‘o’s developer, Howard Hughes Corp., held a blessing ceremony Thursday morning before the first condo owners started arriving.

“This is the culmination of what we’ve all been able to provide: new homes and a new lifestyle for many here at Ward Village,” Todd Apo, senior vice president of community development in Hawaii for Texas-based Hughes Corp., said at the blessing attended by about 100 people who were involved in the tower’s development and management.

Ae‘o is the third tower to open in as many years at Ward Village, a 60-acre property master-planned for 16 towers with about 4,500 homes and 1 million square feet of retail space. The first two towers were Waiea, which opened in 2016, and Anaha, which opened last year.

New owners who arrived Thursday received a gift bag that included a homeowner’s manual, an umbrella and stemless clear silicone wine glasses. Among the group were a father and son who came from the airport with four suitcases after a flight from Japan to kick off a stay in their new vacation home.

Dickson Wong was another buyer who picked up keys Thursday. He and his wife made Kakaako their home seven years ago when they bought a new unit in the Pacifica Honolulu tower fronting Kapiolani Boulevard. Then, two years ago, they moved to The Collection when that tower was completed at the bottom of South Street.

“We like condo living,” Wong said. “It’s kind of like living in a hotel.”

Laniauskas said the growing Ward Village community was what attracted him and his wife, who is eight months pregnant, to move from a condo tower in the Ala Moana area.

“We’re buying into Ward Village as much as we’re buying into the building,” he said. “Being walkable is what’s attractive (about the community).”

Laniauskas added that Whole Foods being part of the tower was a definite draw. “It’s great to have something like that below,” he said.

Whole Foods opened in May. The store isn’t directly below the condos, but is part of the building, which includes separate parking structures for retail customers and residents. Ae‘o residents can get to the store by walking through a portal on the second level of their parking garage that leads to the retailer’s garage and a store entrance.

Annalee English, the store’s manager, said business is expected to increase with all the residents moving in. “We’re excited to be their pantry downstairs,” she said. “It’s a huge convenience factor, for sure.”

Like Laniauskas, Wong expects he and his wife will be more frequent shoppers at Whole Foods.

“I think now that we live here, we’ll visit more often,” Wong said.

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Oceanfront East Honolulu estate sells for $16M: Slideshow

We are proud to have partnered with Tracy Allen of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties as the co-listing agent of this stunning property, Hale Hoolai. The oceanfront East Honolulu property sold for $15.845 million. Mahalo to Pacific Business News for covering the sale. Read more below:

The sale of an oceanfront estate in East Honolulu near the base of Hawaii Loa Ridge closed on Wednesday for $15.845 million to an unnamed buyer, the highest price ever for the Aina Haina Beach-Niu Beach area.

The 11,940-square-foot home at 5403 Kalanianaole Highway, named Hale Hoolai, has seven bedrooms — including three master suites, three bedrooms and a caretaker suite with a private kitchen and private entrance — 8.5 bathrooms and a three-car garage. It also has a pool and a tennis court.

The estate, which was listed for $17.95 million, had been featured on the NBC "Open House” program.

The seller was 5403 Kalanianaole Hwy LLC, whose owner is Morris Stoebner, owner of Honda Windward in Kaneohe.

Tracy Allen, independent agent with Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, represented the seller. Jack Tyrrell & Co. was the co-listor, and Loren Graham of Graham Properties Inc. represented the unnamed buyer.

The most recent large sale along that stretch of Kalanianaole Highway was the sale of a home and two parcels just Koko Head of the estate for $13.5 million in September 2014.

Allen also represented Stoebner in the highest sale to date in the Honolulu Multiple Listing Service, two homes at 145 Kailuana Loop that sold for $24 million in July 2006. That property, named Kai Moena, is currently listed with Brandon Kim of List Sotheby’s International Realty.

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