The Honolulu Star-Advertiser today reported on the groundbreaking of Howard Hughes’ fifth Ward Village tower, ‘A‘ali‘i. The tower will be the first of its kind in Honolulu by pioneering the “smart living” movement, where some studios come with “smart” furniture already built in to maximize use of space. Located at 987 Queen Street, the development is in close proximity to Whole Foods, Ala Moana Beach Park, and more. Amenities will include a penthouse level lanai for all residents to enjoy, fitness and yoga studio, pool, cabanas, and event spaces, among others. Howard Hughes estimates needing 2.5 years for construction. As of October 2018, 500 of 751 units are in contract.
Read more from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, below:
Construction is set to start on a condominium tower in Kakaako that will begin to fill in the middle of the Ward Village community planned largely on old retail and warehouse property.
Developer Howard Hughes Corp. held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the tower, called ‘A‘ali‘i.
The tower will be the fifth to rise out of what Hughes Corp. envisions will be 16 towers and 1 million square feet of retail space on 60 acres in the area formerly known as Ward Centers.
Todd Apo, senior vice president of community development for the company, said starting ‘A‘ali‘i is extra exciting because it will be the first tower adjacent to a 3-acre public plaza in the middle of the developing community where two towers are open and two are nearing completion.
“This is really going to be that place where everyone comes together and grows the community stronger,” he said to a gathering that included members of the development team and condo buyers.
A preliminary version of half the central plaza already has grass firmly planted along with two clusters of coconut palms and a line of hala trees. A January opening of the plaza is expected, and planned upgrades call for water features, shade pavilions, walking paths and other additions as adjacent towers are built and open.
Hughes Corp. expects it will take 2-1/2 years to finish ‘A‘ali‘i.
George Zhang, a Kakaako resident who rents in the Royal Capital Plaza tower, said he chose ‘A‘ali‘i to be his first owned home because of the neighborhood being created. He said he likes the tower’s proximity to the park space, modern design, simple living spaces and communal amenity spaces on the penthouse level.
Richard Schofield, another buyer, has lived in the Ko‘olani tower just outside one developed edge of Ward Village for about two years and hasn’t decided whether he will rent that out or rent out his ‘A‘ali‘i unit when it’s done.
“I just think it’s going to be a great area,” he said.
Junji Miki lives farther away in Kakaako in a tower called The Collection and plans to turn either his Collection condo or new ‘A‘ali‘i unit into an investment rental property.
Local real estate agent Maria Kawananakoa said she isn’t sure what she will do with the ‘A‘ali‘i unit she bought as an investment property, but was glad to be at Monday’s ceremony where Hughes Corp. took group photos of buyers fronting the grassy plaza area.
Hughes Corp. has been selling ‘A‘ali‘i units since the beginning of this year, and reported signing sales contracts for 500 of 751 units as of July.
Living spaces in the tower are as small as 277-square-foot studios with prices starting in the $500,000s. One-bedroom units as small as 430 square feet start in the $700,000s, and two-bedroom units with about 830 square feet start at about $1 million.
Hughes Corp. has described ‘A‘ali‘i as being designed to make more efficient use out of smaller spaces for “smarter living.” Features include 24-inch-wide refrigerators in studios, wall beds that pull down over small couches and floor-to-ceiling cabinetry extending up to 9 feet. The developer also offers units with furnishings and household goods — about 60 different items from cookware to linens — for “turnkey” living that makes moving into or renting out a unit easier.