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

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Neighborhood News: ‘World-class’ playground approved for Ala Moana park

Rendering: Design Partners, Inc.

Thanks to the community, something great is coming to Ala Moana Beach park! A volunteer group has preliminarily received approval for a 1-acre world-class public playground at the iconic park. The park would be privately funded, and construction is anticipated to begin in 2019, pending permits.

As more people choose to make the Ala Moana and Kakaako neighborhoods their home, we are excited about the inclusion of a place for our keiki to enjoy. We also believe this will only increase the attractiveness of the neighborhoods for families.

Read more from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, below:

A volunteer group has obtained city approval to build a 1-acre public playground at Ala Moana Regional Park that includes miniature zip lines, slides, swings and a splash pad.

Representatives of a group led by mothers said they intend to seek a building permit by the end of the year and begin construction next year.

“It’s a bit ambitious but we are going to proceed,” Alana Kobayashi Pakkala told the Ala Moana- Kakaako Neighborhood Board at a meeting Wednesday.

Pakkala, an executive vice president of local development firm Koba­ya­shi Group, which co-developed the ultraluxury Park Lane condominium at Ala Moana Center mauka of the park, said the volunteer group is already seeking donations to pay for play equipment and construction that was estimated to cost $2.5 million prior to some design changes.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he’s confident the volunteer group will succeed in providing the city a playground for free public use.

“We’re really excited,” he said. “I think it’s going to be one of the more unique playgrounds in the state of Hawaii.”

Producing what organizers call a “world-class” playground would realize a vision that began more than two years ago in response to the city’s improvement master plan for Ala Moana Regional Park that mainly focused on fixing or enhancing existing elements of the 119-acre tract that includes Magic Island.

The volunteer group offered to produce a playground there for the city through private donations, and 18 months ago Caldwell said preliminary discussions were underway.

Since then the playground site was shifted and the design overhauled after input from kids.

Initially, the city anticipated having a playground in a relatively inactive section mauka of a concession and bathroom building near the Diamond Head end of the park. Now the site is another fairly inactive area near the park’s Ewa end, mauka of an L&L Hawaiian Barbecue concession and bathrooms.

The playground’s design also was revamped after the volunteer group held planning and design sessions with stakeholders and consulted with children from select Oahu schools. This input led to changes that included adding more zip lines, having slides that start atop small hills and using natural colors instead of primary colors.

Tiffany Vara, another group leader, said kids wanted more open-ended play and also asked for some old-school amenities. “They really wanted swings and monkey bars,” she said.

Equipment selected for the project includes a globe-shaped structure that can be gently spun with kids on the inside and outside, swings for multiple riders and something that resembles two giant rocking chairs joined facing each other with a table in the middle.

Six zip lines are also part of the plan. These work by riders sitting on a disc suspended from an overhead track and pushing off a platform to travel from one end of the track to the other while a couple of feet off the ground.

Other elements include picnic tables, a splash pad and a retail concession to provide snacks and convenience items for parents and kids. Proceeds from the concession would help the city pay for playground maintenance, though the volunteer group also could raise money for this expense under its nonprofit, Pa‘ani Kakou.

The playground would be big enough for more than 500 children and include features that can be enjoyed by kids with disabilities. It would be fenced to keep kids safe and to secure the facility at night.

The city’s master plan for the park generally calls for improving existing features, such as replenishing beach sand, widening a pedestrian promenade, covering a drainage canal, reconfiguring parking and other renovation work at an estimated cost of $144 million.

Nicknamed “The People’s Park,” Ala Moana Regional Park was built in 1934 and is used by 4 million people a year, more than any other general recreation park in the state, according to the city.

City officials said in a June draft environmental impact report for the master plan that overall community feedback for a playground was positive in scoping meetings.

However, some residents who submitted comments on the plan discounted the need for a playground.

“Kids should just run around, play games, throw balls, etc.,” Diane Fujimura said in a written comment. “Keep in mind that this park is a true people’s park. It needs to remain that way, simple, clean, safe and naturally beautiful.”

William Kaeo, an elementary school counselor, suggested the city focus more on basic beach park amenities. “A playground in the park is NOT NEEDED,” he wrote. “Please make more showers and cleaner bathrooms.”

Endorsing a playground was Brian Walter, who wrote that given the park’s size, such an addition would be welcome. “It seems like there is so much wasted space,” he said. “I would personally support a playground or two for the kids to have fun.”

At Wednesday’s neighborhood board meeting, Audrey Lee with the group Malama Moana liked the detailed playground plan. “This is a fabulous thing,” she said. “I’m really impressed.”

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Howard Hughes Corporation announces indefinite hold on Gateway Towers

Photo: Howard Hughes Corporation

Photo: Howard Hughes Corporation

The Howard Hughes Corporation announced big changes to its Ward Village Master Plan earlier this week. The long-anticipated, ultra-luxury Gateway Towers, designed by famed architect Richard Meier, has been indefinitely placed on hold. Buyers will be refunded deposits and offered other opportunities for homes at Ward Village. Howard Hughes President Simon Treacy also announced plans for elevated walkways that would connect Ward Village to Ala Moana Beach Park and Kewalo Basin over Ala Moana Boulevard, Auahi Street, and Ward Avenue.  The propose walkways would make connections to several Ward Village condo towers, perhaps at second-story levels where retail stores would be, as well as ground connections at points including a central public plaza within Ward Village.

Read more from Hawaii Public Radio, below:

The Howard Hughes Corporation is playing a big role in changing the look of Honolulu’s urban landscape. Simon Treacy joined the company as president in January, and this week he announced the first major changes to the master plan of Ward Village. Pacific Business News editor in chief A. Kam Napier has more.


One of the signature projects of the Ward Village masterplan has been the Gateway Towers, two luxury high rises that would flank the greenspace of the Ward Village Central Plaza, which broke ground last week. Combined, the Gateway Towers would have comprised 236 units and were designed by Richard Meier of Richard Meier & Partners.

Yesterday, Howard Hughes Corp. informed buyers of the Gateway Towers that the buildings have been put on hold indefinitely.

It’s the first major change to the master plan, but not the last according to president Simon Treacy. He also announced this week plans for greener, more park-like experience as Ward Village evolves. The signature piece of this new approach is a proposed, landscaped elevated walkway that would connect Ward Village to Kewalo Basin by going over Ala Moana Boulevard. Imagine something like New York’s High Line as an example of what this could be.

Treacy, with a background in investments and private equity, has lived around the world and tells PBN he views Singapore as a model for urban development.  “Over 63 percent of Singapore is green and we want to have that same level of green around,” he tells PBN.

Other aspects of this move for Ward Village include wider sidewalks with more landscaping and more parks.

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New Ala Moana Center food hall The Lanai to open October 2017 with 10 restaurants

Rendering provided by Ala Moana Center

Rendering provided by Ala Moana Center

The Lanai, Ala Moana Center’s new dining concept located in the former Shirokiya space on the mall’s second level, will open Oct. 27, 2017 featuring 10 new and established local eateries.

The dining hall will seat 450 and have indoor and outdoor options. It will sell breakfast, lunch, dinner and grab-and-go options. We are looking forward to this exciting new addition to the neighborhood!

Read more from KHON News, below:

Ala Moana Center is getting ready to open its newest dining area, and on Monday, we learned who will be inside.

Ten eateries will be featured in The Lanai @ Ala Moana when it officially opens on Oct. 27 in the former Shirokiya space on Mall Level 2.

The 18,000-square-foot space will offer seating for up to 450 customers with the option to sit in a dining hall or al fresco beneath festival lighting.

“As food halls continue to increase in popularity across the U.S., we look forward to unveiling Oahu’s newest communal dining concept in the Center’s Diamond Head Wing,” said Francis Cofran, senior general manager of Ala Moana Center. “The Lanai @ Ala Moana will have an artisanal and unique vibe where locals and visitors will be able to relax and explore an eclectic array of options, including popular local foodie favorites served alongside eateries new to Hawaii and one of Oahu’s first agave bars.”

The planned eateries are:

  • Agave & Vine: Hand-crafted cocktails, tequila, wine, and craft beers
  • Ahi & Vegetable: Fresh, high-quality tuna served in an assortment of sushi, sashimi, rolls, poke, and bentos with a side of salad or rice. Cooked foods include teriyaki chicken and beef, grilled fish (ahi and salmon), and more.
  • BRUG: A popular Japanese-style bakery and cafe from Hokkaido featuring artisan baked goods, soups, sandwiches, cold-brewed coffee, and jelly drinks.
  • Da Spot: Exotic food and smoothies.
  • HiTEA Cafe: This Maui-based eatery offers freshly prepared stir-fry dishes with a mix of shrimp, meat, and vegetables, along with fresh fruit juices, smoothies, and tea.
  • Ike’s Place: New to Hawaii, this San Francisco eatery is known for made-to-order sandwich options ranging from turkey to mozzarella sticks or jalapeño poppers topped with the brand’s famous “dirty sauce.”
  • Mahaloha Burger: This locally inspired menu features 100-percent free-range beef from Hawaii island, a variety of sides including sweet potato, onion rings, french fries, and tater tots, and shakes.
  • Sobaya: An authentic Japanese noodle house that specializes in soba (buckwheat), udon, and ramen noodles in soup with a variety of toppings, including popular tempura options.
  • Teppanyaki Farmer: An open kitchen concept where customers can watch their meal being prepared with locally available, farm-fresh products.
  • Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha: All-natural Hawaiian shave ice and locally made ice cream.

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Neighborhood News: Additional Bikeshare stops coming to Ward and Ala Moana area

Photo: Biki, Bikeshare Hawaii

Photo: Biki, Bikeshare Hawaii

Bikeshare Hawaii announced that the nonprofit is adding another 10 stations to increase access to its Biki bikeshare program.  They have been installed as of Monday, August 14, 2017, so please be aware.  Read more from the Pacific Business Journal, below.

The new stops, which will be located between Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, will bring the total number of Biki stops from Chinatown to Diamond Head to 99, while the number of available bikes increases to 1,000.

"Biki users have requested Biki Stops in areas where there are gaps, and these new locations will help satisfy those requests," Bikeshare Hawaii said in a statement. "None of the new locations take parking spots."

More than 75,000 Biki trips have been recorded since the launch of the bikeshare program in late June. Bikeshare Hawaii says the program records between 1,800 and 2,100 trips per day.

Installation of the 10 new stations will take place on Monday. The new stations include:

Kakaako/Ala Moana Area:
·Pohukaina Street near UFC Gym

Ward Area:
·Ward Village in front of Real Gastropub
·Ward Village near the former Sports Authority
·Kolowalu Park

Downtown:
·Beretania and Punchbowl streets near Department of Health
·Fort Street Mall at King Street
·Fort Street Mall at Queen Street
·Punchbowl Street near Queen Street
·Beretania Street at Isenberg Street

Waikiki:
·Kalakaua Avenue between Ohua and Paoakalani avenues

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Development to Watch: Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) centers on Ala Moana

Photo: Prospac Holdings Group, Inc.

Photo: Prospac Holdings Group, Inc.

With development in Kakaako in full swing, Ala Moana is the next development area to watch.  The City and County of Honolulu's Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Plans set forth land use and policy guidelines for the desired development in neighborhoods affected by the future Honolulu Rail project.  The Interim Planned Development Permit (IPDT) provides developers the opportunities for creative, catalytic redevelopment projects within the rail corridor before each station area is brought into the TOD special districts. Five IPDT permits have been submitted in the Ala Moana thus far, with the latest coming from ProsPac Holdings, Inc. regarding their project on Keeaumoku Street, perpendicular to Kapiolani Boulevard.

Kapiolani Boulevard is one of the busiest roads in Honolulu, and there are many development opportunities there to be had. With its convenient location near the Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center, and many amenities nearby, it will be a development area to watch closely in the next few years.

This article is authored by Janis Magin and originally appeared in Pacific Business News.

A 400-unit mixed-use condominium project planned for a site across from the Walmart store on Keeaumoku Street has filed an application to build the project under the City and County of Honolulu’s transit-oriented-development zoning regulations.

ProsPac Holdings Inc. is the fifth developer to submit an application for an interim planned development-transit permit in the area around Ala Moana Center, one of eight transit-oriented development zones established along the Honolulu rail project’s 20-mile route, each covering two or three of the 21 stations.

ProsPac Holdings plans to use TOD zoning for its mixed-use project on Keeaumoku Street.

One of the goals of TOD is to make communities more pedestrian friendly while adding more housing and encouraging the use of public transportation.

While three of the eight plans — Waipahu, Aiea-Pearl City and Kalihi — have been adopted by the Honolulu City Council, the Ala Moana area has seen the most activity and the only applications for zoning, even though the council is still considering the plan.

Since the plan has not been adopted, developers such as ProsPac Holdings are using the interim planned development-transit permit as a vehicle to propose transit-oriented development, or TOD, plans for lots of 20,000 square feet or more, said Harrison Rue, community building and transit-oriented development administrator with the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting.

“That allows them to negotiate with council for flexible zoning very similar to what’s in the draft zoning that hasn’t been adopted yet,” Rue told Pacific Business News.

What TOD gives those developers is additional height, up to 400 feet, and additional density under TOD zoning, he said.

The four other projects that have submitted applications are all mixed-use towers — Salem Partners’ Manaolana Place and 1500 Kapiolani hotel-condominium projects, Hawaii City Plaza on Sheridan Street and the Hawaii Ocean Plaza hotel-condo, planned for three parcels next to the Kenrock Building on Kapiolani Boulevard.

While most see TOD as an outgrowth of the rail transit project, Rue notes that the plans have been in the works for some 10 years. TOD is a long-term effort that requires community involvement and multiple public meetings over several years.

Planning began in Waipahu in 2007, but the area has yet to see any applications from developers, who are waiting to see what the City Council does on two affordable bills, Rue said.

Gail Jennings, the project lead for the transit-oriented development group at Colliers International Hawaii, said Waipahu is ideal for TOD because there is a lot of activity on the streets — and creating an active streetscape with retail, office, medical or wellness uses at the street level is at the heart of TOD zoning.

“There’s a reason that Kapiolani is attractive and the Ala Moana area is attractive. The scale of the development you can do will pencil out,” Jennings said. “In a place like Waipahu, it isn’t appropriate to have 200-foot buildings there.”

Jennings noted that the Waipahu Depot area is “an ideal walkable neighborhood” that has redevelopment potential. The TOD plan will add mixed-use zoning to areas that are currently zoned for industrial or apartments, which can add housing and retail to the mix.

Rue said there has been a “surprising amount of interest but no real deals from some smaller developers.”

“It takes time to get all the parties together and working cooperatively to create a cohesive neighborhood,” Jennings said. “You need a holistic approach.”

In the Aiea-Pearl City zone, multi-family investors have been buying property near the area where the Pearlridge station will be built, Jennings said.

“Our biggest hope is that the city’s commitment to doing public-private partnerships is carried through to the station there,” she said. A developer on a long-term ground lease could add retail, office or affordable housing near or on top of the station “and it could generate good revenue for the city.”

Closer to downtown, the Iwilei-Kapalama plan, which includes the redevelopment of the Mayor Wright Homes public housing project, envisions adding 3,670 units of housing in the first 10 years, with another 4,050 units in the five years after that.

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Wall Street Journal: Honolulu’s Kakaako District Is at the Center of a Building Boom

The Wall Street Journal did an excellent feature on Honolulu's Kakaako district here.  The article highlighted Waiea as the premiere example of luxury condo development underway in Honolulu.  The story not only shared the story of Waiea, but also touched on the greater Ward Village community, The Howard Hughes Corporations's dedication to respecting Hawaiian culture, and its contribution to building affordable housing.

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Condo developer no longer pursuing long-delayed project

Courtesy of MB Acquisitions

OliverMcMillan, the developer of the recently completed Symphony Honolulu, has decided not to join the development team working on the mixed-use Aloha Kai project on the corner of Atkinson and Ala Moana, right across the street from Ala Moana Hotel where our Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc. offices are located.  However, its developer, MB Property Acquisitions LLC will still be moving forward with the project, which houses the YMCA on its ground floor.

Read more from Pacific Business News, below:

San Diego-based developer OliverMcMillan, which developed a couple of Honolulu mixed-use high-rise projects, won’t be developing another one at the site of the YMCA of Honolulu Central Branch across from Ala Moana Center, the developer of the project confirmed to Pacific Business News.

California-based MB Property Acquisitions LLC has partnered with the Japanese firm Tama Home on the long-planned 37-story, 117-unit Aloha Kai development on Atkinson Drive.

OliverMcMillan was in negotiations to join the team to build the project. But Michael Blumenthal, president of MB Property, told PBN on Thursday that OliverMcMillan has “stepped to the side.”

“The project is still happening,” he said. “We’re in discussions with the YMCA in regards to the project. Our intention is to develop the condo tower and most likely the YMCA.”

Blumenthal said negotiations have been slow, and that the project may include more affordable units and market-rate units that would adapt to today’s pricing.

Construction on the project could start by early next year.

The project will include a new three-story, 30,000-square-foot YMCA Central Branch with no residential units, a swimming pool and a sophisticated aqua facility that will cater to seniors. It will also have five levels of parking with units being built atop those levels.

Aloha Kai encountered a delay after the developer asked for a zoning change to increase its height limit to 350 feet from 150 feet.

The project will encompass about 150,000 square feet of net saleable square footage with four units per floor and a boutique-like, private feel, according to Blumenthal.

Pricing is still being determined, although he said it is probably going to be around $1,400 per square foot, meaning that a one-bedroom unit of roughly 600 square feet unit would be priced around $840,000.

Aloha Kai also will have a rooftop pool, and all units will include lanais that overlook the ocean. There will be no commercial units in the project.

The condo portion of the project is expected to be completed in about two years.

PBN reached out to OliverMcMillan for comment.

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Honolulu ranks 16th Most Fun City in America 2016

Hawaii's legendary North Shore! Photo: Jack Tyrrell & Company, Inc.

Pacific Business News reported that Honolulu appeared 16th on Wallethub's 2016 Most Fun Cities in America list!  As a resident, I would have to agree!  There is never a shortage of activities for me to do with my wife and friends.  Some of my favorite things include visiting the Kakaako Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, standup paddle boarding at Ala Moana Beach Park, visiting the legendary North Shore of Oahu, sailing the island's shores, and trying out the myriad of local restaurants across the island.  What fun things do you like to do on Oahu?

Read Pacific Business News' report, below

If it ever seemed to you that Honolulu is more festive than other major U.S. cities, it turns out that you were right, according to a WalletHub report.

The personal finance website ranked Honolulu 16th among 2016’s Most Fun Cities in America. Las Vegas was ranked No. 1, Orlando, Florida, was second and Miami was third.

To help Americans find the cities with the greatest number and variety of cheap, fun activities, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 largest cities across 51 key metrics, ranging from “number of fitness clubs per capita” to “movie costs” to “average open hours of breweries.”

The number crunchers found that Hawaii’s capital has the most festivals per 100,000 residents, 41.72, which is 131 times more than in Corpus Christi, Texas, the city with the lowest, 0.32.

Read the entire report here.

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Sig Zane partners with Ward Village in design project

From left: Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Brandy-Alia Serikaku, Sig Zane and Kuhaʻo Zane of Sig Zane. Photo via Pacific Business News

The Howard Hughes Corporation has announced a very exciting partnership with local art talent Sig Zane and his innovative, kind, and creative team.  Through this partnership, stories and history of the land Ward Village sits on will be told throughout the community.

Read more from Pacific Business News' story, below:

Hawaii artist Sig Zane will begin creating designs in Ward Village through a community design partnership.

Zane’s Hilo-based design-service company, Sig Zane Kaiao, will visually translate the story of Ward Village and its history through a series of patterns, logos and artwork that will be featured throughout the urban Honolulu neighborhood, according to a statement issued Thursday.

The partnership between the local artist and the 60-acre Honolulu community was formed through Ann Harakawa of Two Twelve and cultural expert Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, who has assisted with naming the residential towers in Ward Village.

The partnership will focus on incorporating the history of the land into a visual narrative of Ward Village.

"Our entire team has embraced the opportunity to learn about Ward Village and to play a part in what's being done to revitalize Honolulu's urban core,” Sig Zane said in a statement. “We look forward to creating a visual narrative for a community that truly embraces its history and culture."

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Honolulu's next Target store plants to open at Ala Moana Center

Target in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo via Pacific Business News.

Target in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo via Pacific Business News.

Target has planned to open its seventh store in the state at Ala Moana Shopping Center.  It will occupy the former Nordstrom space on Kapiolani Boulevard.  Target will bring even more convenience and options to the neighborhood!  Read more in Pacific Business News' exclusive story, below:

Target is planning to open its seventh store in Hawaii at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu in a space previously occupied by a Nordstrom store, Pacific Business News has learned.

The Minnesota-based big-box retail chain applied for a $2 million building permit this week with the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting for space 2401 at the Ala Moana Center.

Saks Fifth Avenue is opening a Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th store in a 41,000-square-foot space in the ground floor of the former Nordstrom store along Kapiolani Boulevard. That store is scheduled to open next spring. Some of the ground-floor space will being divided into small retail stores.

Sources tell PBN that Target will take up nearly 80,000 square feet on the second and third floors of the former Nordstrom store, which moved to the state’s largest mall’s new Ewa wing.

Demolition work related to the development of the new Target store is scheduled to start in November, according to sources.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) currently has stores in Kailua in Windward Oahu, Salt Lake in Honolulu, Kapolei in West Oahu, Kahului on Maui, and Kailua-Kona and Hilo, both on the Big Island

After breaking the news regarding Nordstrom’s move to the other side of the Ala Moana Center, sources told PBN that Target would be opening in the Nordstrom space.

Target also has a 32,537-square-foot warehouse on Oahu that serves as a central distribution warehouse for all of its stores in the state.

Target will join Ross Dress for Less, another big-box retailer, at Ala Moana Center. Ross has signed a lease for a location between Old Navy and Saint-Germain Bakery in the mall’s old Ewa wing. About a block away there are other well-known retailers including Walmart, another Ross store and the state’s flagship Walgreens store.

A spokeswoman for the Ala Moana Center told PBN that she was unable to comment at this time.

PBN reached out to Target for comment on Thursday.

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