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

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Howard Hughes could develop parcel across from Symphony Honolulu condo tower

*Note: Rendering is of Symphony Honolulu

*Note: Rendering is of Symphony Honolulu

Duane Shimogawa of Pacific Business News has learned that the Howard Hughes Corp. have begun the the first steps of looking into development opportunities for its one-acre parcel across the street from the relatively newly completed Symphony Honolulu on Kapiolani Boulevard. The developer has approached the Oahu Island Burial Council to look into "archaeological aspects about the property." Jack in the Box currently occupies the parcel.  Read more below. And, to find more information, including meeting agendas, from the Oahu Island Burial Council, visit their website online here.

The Howard Hughes Corp. is looking into development opportunities for its one-acre parcel across from the Symphony Honolulu condominium high-rise tower, Pacific Business News has learned.

The Texas-based developer recently went before the Oahu Island Burial Council in an effort to look at the archaeological aspects about the property at the corner of Ward Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard. The property is currently occupied by a Jack in the Box and the Galiher Law building.

The Howard Hughes Corp. is looking into development opportunities for its one-acre parcel across from the Symphony Honolulu condominium tower. This rendering shows the Symphony Honolulu condominium, which is being developed by San Diego-based OliverMcMillan.

Todd Apo, vice president of community development for Howard Hughes, recently told PBN that it currently has no plans for the redevelopment of this parcel.

“The effort at the burial council is to properly consult with them on a plan for the archeological work that will be done in the future,” he said.

Ancient human skeletal remains, or iwi, have been discovered at The Howard Hughes’ 466-unit Aeo mixed-use condominium site in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako that includes Hawaii’s flagship Whole Foods Market, as first reported by PBN.

Apo told PBN that there was an inadvertent find between the exterior of the building and the sidewalk.

He said at the time of finding the iwi, the developer did stop work in the immediate area until it was cleared by the cultural descendants and state Historic Preservation Division.

“Given that the find was outside the exterior wall, it did not impact work on the rest of the project,” Apo said.

Howard Hughes (NYSE: HHC) owns the 60-acre Ward Village master-planned community in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako, which includes the Aeo, Waiea, Anaha, Ke Kilohana, Ward Gateway and Aalii mixed-use condo projects, as well as its Ward Village Shops.

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Sneak peek at Symphony Honolulu’s retail and restaurant space Velocity

Screenshot of the entrance to Velocity at the Symphony Honolulu, Pacific Business News

With Symphony Honolulu Unit 4202 now ready for move-in, and we are excited about what is coming to its ground floor!  Pacific Business News has a great article updating us on what is to come to Velocity, the ground floor retail and restaurant space within the Symphony.  In addition to automotive dealership featuring European car models, there will be a restaurant featuring Italian wine, pizza and paninis; a women's dayspa, men's clothing store, and more!  Read below for full details:

The bottom floor of Symphony Honolulu, a new condominium tower at 888 Kapiolani Blvd., will host a car dealership by Hawaii-based JN Group Inc., two Italian restaurants by PJ Partners Inc. of Japan, a wine and food store, and two combination retail store/salons.

“Velocity is the retail piece of Symphony Honolulu. It’s a culmination of eight European automotive brands and eight European motorcycle brands,” Brad Nicolai of JN Group, the parent company of JN Automotive Group, told Pacific Business News in an interview. Cars sold in Velocity include Audi, JaguarLand Rover and other European exotics. Click on a photo to see a slideshow.

Velocity’s men’s clothing store, called Sixty-One, will include a men’s barber shop. The store is named after the year that Nicolai’s father, Joe Nicolai, founded JN Group in Honolulu in 1961. The men’s clothing store and salon will be the developer’s own retail concept. The group also operates Harley-Davidson clothing outlets on Oahu.

A woman’s boutique will include women’s spa services such as a dry bar and lash bar. Kristin Wood, founder of Honolulu salon Kristin Wood Lashes, will operate the salon.

Velocity will also host a wine and gourmet food store owned by a separate operator.

Nicolai said he envisions Velocity as a reflection of the piazza public markets found in towns and cities across Italy.

“Fortunately, through my travels through Asia, Europe and New York City, I’ve been able to get different conceptual ideas of how retail can work with residential, mixed-use projects,” he explained. “The unique experience we’re trying to connect is tied to my father’s Italian heritage, the experience of the old country.”

The developers also have plans to make the space a venue for performances.

“We took the piazza concept as a place of congregation,” Nicolai explained. “Kakaako has really lent itself to be a host to artisans whether it be fixed art or live art.” As the space is across the street from the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, “it lends itself with music and arts.”

Velocity’s two leveled architecture will include a restaurant upstairs and downstairs. Restaurant operator PJ Partners, who also operate Honolulu’s Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, have not released the restaurant names. Both will be under the direction of Italian Michelin Chef Gianpaolo Raschi.

The bottom floor of Velocity will host a “typical Italian wine and bar,” as Chef Maurizio Roberti described. Roberti is an Italian cuisine master chef currently based in Japan and is working to develop the restaurants. The bottom floor will also have an espresso bar.

In addition to drinks, the menu will include pizza and paninis. “People will call it fast food; we call it soul food. It’s fast on the go, but it’s still soul food,” Roberti said.

The downstairs restaurant will seat 40 to 50 customers, plus outdoor seating.

The ground floor will have a high ceiling and a mezzanine to showcase the automotive outlet’s Ducati motorcycles and Vespa scooters.

“You get the feeling that you don’t need to get on a plane and go to Italy, you can just come down to Velocity. That’s the kind of thing we’re trying to create” Roberti explained.

Ingredients for the restaurant’s menu will include a combination of locally sourced food and Italian imported cheeses and meats. The still-unnamed restaurant is reaching out to locally sourced food producers to partner with and specifically seeks a Hawaii-based gelato company. The restaurant is also looking into making its own Italian sausages to add to the menu.

Velocity’s upstairs area will have a cocktail bar and a formal dining restaurant. A large glass window will separate the kitchen from the dining area, so “you can actually see all the chefs at work,” Roberti said.

The upstairs restaurant’s menu will include predominantly seafood — Gianpaolo Raschi’s specialty.

Roberti described the menu as “simplified Italian, not the over-indulgent, swimming in oil, backstroke in tomato sauce or anything like that. It’s real Italian.”

Upstairs restaurant will include a VIP shift-table area that seats 10. Restaurant developers did not provide price points for menu items upon request. Combined, both restaurants will cover 6,000 square feet including the outdoor seating area.

The restaurant projects are looking to hire locally, and they have plans to create apprenticeships and a collaboration with Kapiolani Community College. “We would like to get the community involved in our project,” Roberti said.

Symphony Honolulu is a 388-unit condominium tower and has been open to unit owners since June. According to Nicolai, the tower’s units are about 96 percent sold out. JN Group developed the tower in collaboration with OliverMcMillan LLC.

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