Feb 5, 2014, 6:42pm HST
Reporter- Pacific Business News
The Howard Hughes Corp., which has plans to add more than 900 residential units in the first phase of its Ward Village master plan in Kakaako, has entered into exclusive negotiations with the Hawaii Community Development Authority to develop and manage the nearby Kewalo Basin small-boat harbor.
The HCDA, at a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, decided to award Texas-based Howard Hughes (NYSE: HHC) a 60-day due diligence period in which to complete a lease for the harbor.
California-based Almar Management, whose contract to manage the harbor expires Feb. 28, also presented a plan for the mixed-use harbor.
The Howard Hughes Corp., which has spent the last three years planning its transformation of Ward Centers into Ward Village, said that the opportunity to rehabilitate and manage the Kewalo Basin Harbor was not contemplated in its original plans.
“However, when the opportunity presented itself we gave it careful consideration, and we realized that as we continue to develop a special community, we have a significant interest in ensuring that the harbor is well maintained and continues to play a key role as a valuable community amenity,” David Striph, senior vice president of Hawaii for The Howard Hughes Corp., said in an emailed statement to PBN. “As the operator of Kewalo Basin Harbor, we will be working within the established rules and are prepared to make a significant investment in redeveloping and improving this iconic harbor in a way that benefits both existing tenants and the greater Oahu community.”
The harbor, which was transferred from the Hawaii Department of Transportation to the HCDA in 2009, has seen some improvements and changes since that time.
The state agency set aside almost $5 million from its revolving funds to undergo necessary repairs, and outsourced the harbor management to Almar and even hired Mainland consultants to remodel it.
The project aimed to increase the number of boat slips to 250 ranging in lengths from 35 feet to 120 feet, among other improvements.