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

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Pacific Business News Tours Ward Warehouse Demolition

If you have driven along Ala Moana Boulevard lately, the mauka side is starting to look a lot different.  Not only is Waiea now the dominant presence, with its sweeping architecture hard to ignore, but an old, familiar landmark is now gone: Ward Warehouse.  The Howard Hughes Corporation began their demolition of the Ward Warehouse earlier this July in order to make way for its Gateway Towers development.  The redevelopment of the parcel will feature a park in between two towers, creating an improved mauka to makai connection from Kewalo Harbor to Ward Village.

Read more updates from Pacific Business News' tour of the current state of the Ware Warehouse demolitions, below. And view more photos online on Pacific Business News' website, here.

It’s a matter of weeks now before Honolulu’s Ward Warehouse becomes just a memory, as The Howard Hughes Corp. clears the land to make way for a future mixed-use tower under its Ward Village master plan.

Re-use Hawaii spent this week salvaging old-growth Douglas fir beams, fixtures and other building materials from the site, as Layton Construction worked to demolish the areas where salvaging had already taken place.

Quinn Vittum, executive director of Re-use Hawaii, said the work to salvage material from the retail and restaurant center, which closed on July 31, is taking place in two phases. The first phase, which started in August, recovered such interior items as doors, cabinets, plumbing fixtures and lights from retail stores and the Old Spaghetti Factory, Kincaid’s and Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Co. restaurants. 

The second phase is to recover the large beams and other lumber from the structure.

Vittum said the lumber is clear vertical grain Douglas fir that was milled from trees harvested in northern California or the Pacific Northwest in the mid 1970s.

Vittum said Re-use Hawaii expects to be finished in early January. After that, it’s off to salvage items from Ward Plaza, and then the warehouses across Auahi Street before they are also demolished for future phases of Ward Village

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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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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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