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

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Ward Village Kō‘ula architect listed on Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People

Photo: Time Magazine

Photo: Time Magazine

Jeanne Gang, the principal of Studio Gang Architects (and the team behind Kō‘ula) was recently named to TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2019! Kō‘ula is Studio Gang’s first major project on the Hawaiian Islands. The Ward Village development will embody indoor-outdoor living, with each unit designed to have ocean views. Please contact us to learn more about this exciting new project!

Read Time Magazine’s profile of Ms. Gang, below:

Jeanne Gang has the WOW factor. Her stunning Aqua, in Chicago, is the tallest building ever built by a woman. Now she’s building an even taller one. Yet, for Jeanne, architecture is not just a wondrous object. It’s a catalyst for change. Her sleek, woody boathouses are helping to revive the polluted Chicago River by filtering runoff organically. Her Polis Station concept aims to improve the way civilians interact with law enforcement by fusing police stations with civic recreational centers. She recently tested the idea in one of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods, adding a basketball court to the 10th District police station in North Lawndale.
The results were so popular, she’s now expanding the facility.

Referring to the growing socioeconomic divides in our cities, Jeanne has warned her profession against “sorting ourselves into architects of the rich and architects of the poor,” and focuses instead on discovering “new possibilities for the discipline and beyond.” And it all started with playing in the dirt and making ice castles. Wow.

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Whale-watching Season in Hawaii

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, February 22, 2019

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, February 22, 2019

The warm and shallow waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands are a favorite destination for kohola, or humpback whales. Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population return to Hawaii to breed, calve and nurse their young. They race more than 3,000 miles from the Gulf of Alaska to Hawaii.

The whale watching season is usually under way by mid-December and lasts until April or May, with the ideal months for watching typically being February and March. While whale watching is ideal on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai islands, humpback whales can be seen on Oahu from the shoreline of Waikiki, Makapuu Lighthouse, and along the seaside overlooks near Diamond Head.

Recently, my social media manager was able to encounter a mother whale and her calf off of the shores of Diamond Head during sunset, as shown in the photo above and in this video here. The crew was sailing, when they were startled by the sound of a whale spouting water. To their happy surprise, the mother whale and her calf were peacefully swimming about 100 feet from their boat. The captain observed their behavior to ensure no signs of distress or defensiveness. When no such behavior was observed, it was determined safe for the crew to remain where it was. The whales continued on their way, spouting water about two more times before swimming farther away. The observation was a fleeting, but beautiful and memorable moment. Witnessing these majestic creatures takes a lot of patience and respect, as well.

If you can't spot them from the shore, boat tours would be your best shot at getting closer to them. Luckily, there are many boat operators on Oahu that host whale watching tours. A few choices are listed below:

Whale-watching is truly an unforgettable experience that we highly recommend anyone in Hawaii do during the season!

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Honolulu's Chinatown celebrates Chinese New Year

year of the boar cny 2019.jpg

Happy Year of the Boar! Celebrations in Honolulu kicked off February 2, 2019 with a large street fair in Chinatown. There were many activities, such as the traditional lion dance, various food vendors, and more.

Read more from Pacific Business News, below, including information on other celebrations going on across the island:

Chinatown was the place to be Friday and Saturday as events, streets fairs and open houses celebrating Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Pig. Click here for a slideshow of Saturday's festivities.

Events were organized by Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Chinatown Merchants Association and Honolulu Chinese Jaycees. In PBN's new Book of Lists, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce on Hawaii was the Islands' sixth largest chamber, with 396 members.

Is it the Year of the Pig, or the Boar? Depends on where you're going to celebrate at upcoming events this month. Mililani Shopping Center is going with Year of the Pig this Friday; while Ala Moana Center simply says Chinese New Year for its Feb. 7 - 9 events, though its marketing features a tuskless pig; and International Marketplace is going with Boar for events on Feb. 10 at International Marketplace.

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Honolulu construction costs 4th highest in the world, RLB report shows

Photo Credit: Jack Tyrrell and Company. Pictured above is Honolulu’s flagship Whole Foods Market and Aeʻo, which were both completed in 2018.

Honolulu construction costs continue to be some of the highest in the world. According to Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), Honolulu’s construction costs in 2018 were the 4th highest in the world. Despite the high costs, market trends do not show a slow down in construction. In Ward Village alone, two residential towers are planned for completion in 2019.

Read more from Pacific Business News, below:

Honolulu’s construction cost increases over the last year were the lowest in the nation, but the costs to build make Hawaii’s largest city the fourth-highest in the world, according to recent reports by Rider Levett Bucknall.

Oslo, Norway, topped RLB’s global construction cost relativity index in its construction cost report for the fourth quarter, and was followed by San Francisco, New York, Honolulu, then Paris.

RLB bases its index on the local costs of standard building models or basket of goods, using the same quantities and specifications in local currencies.

In its fourth quarter report for North America, RLB noted that construction-put-in-place in the United States in October was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.3 billion, which was 4.9 percent higher than the October 2017 estimate of $1.247 billion.

Honolulu had the lowest rate of change among 12 U.S. cities at 1.92 percent for RLB’s comparative construction costs, which track the true cost of construction, including labor, materials, contractor overhead costs and sales and use taxes.

Chicago had the largest increase at 7.22 percent, followed by Phoenix at 6.63 percent and Portland, Oregon, at 6.62 percent. Those two cities had the third- and fourth-lowest costs in the nation; Las Vegas had the lowest costs, followed by Denver.

Meanwhile, Ride Levett Bucknall’s crane index report for January found the number of construction cranes in Honolulu has dropped by nearly one half since last spring, ranking the city 10th among 11 U.S. cities.

Honolulu had six tower cranes in operation as of November, compared to 11 in May when the city also ranked at No. 10, on the biannual index released last week. Phoenix once again had the fewest cranes at five, which Seattle came in at No. 1 with 59, which was a decrease from 65 cranes last summer.

RLB attributed the drop to the number of projects marking completion during the second half of 2018, which included The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Aeo, Sam Koo’s Kapiolani Residence and The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach.

The report also noted that because of changes at the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting, “hotel owners and developers and pushing their planned projects forward to accommodate the longer processing time, which may lead to an increase in the crane count towards the end of 2019.”

Honolulu’s crane count has steadily declined from a high of 22 on the July 2015 index, according to RLB. However, several high-rise projects getting set to start vertical construction this year, including Brookfield Properties’ Lilia Waikiki and ProsPac Holdings’ Azure Ala Moana, could boost the count by next summer.

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Kakaako condo Ae‘o ready for owners

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

Ae‘o is officially welcoming its first owners! Congratulations to the owners who were able to move in this past Thursday, December 6, 2018. Owners will be moving into their units throughout the month.

Ae‘o is the first Ward Village condo development to completely sell out. However, I do have one unit for sale and a few units for rent. If you are interested, contact me now, as interest for the brand-new building is high!

Read more from the Honolulu Star Advertiser below:

Chris Laniauskas is an occasional Whole Foods Market shopper, but that likely will change soon when he takes up residence in a tower connected to the natural food retailer’s flagship Hawaii store in Kakaako.

The local insurance company executive was part of an initial group of about 150 new condominium owners in the Ae‘o high-rise at Ward Village who picked up their keys Thursday and will move into the 38-story tower over the next few weeks.

By late January all 466 owners in the sold-out building are scheduled to take possession of their new homes, which cost $1 million on average.

Ae‘o’s developer, Howard Hughes Corp., held a blessing ceremony Thursday morning before the first condo owners started arriving.

“This is the culmination of what we’ve all been able to provide: new homes and a new lifestyle for many here at Ward Village,” Todd Apo, senior vice president of community development in Hawaii for Texas-based Hughes Corp., said at the blessing attended by about 100 people who were involved in the tower’s development and management.

Ae‘o is the third tower to open in as many years at Ward Village, a 60-acre property master-planned for 16 towers with about 4,500 homes and 1 million square feet of retail space. The first two towers were Waiea, which opened in 2016, and Anaha, which opened last year.

New owners who arrived Thursday received a gift bag that included a homeowner’s manual, an umbrella and stemless clear silicone wine glasses. Among the group were a father and son who came from the airport with four suitcases after a flight from Japan to kick off a stay in their new vacation home.

Dickson Wong was another buyer who picked up keys Thursday. He and his wife made Kakaako their home seven years ago when they bought a new unit in the Pacifica Honolulu tower fronting Kapiolani Boulevard. Then, two years ago, they moved to The Collection when that tower was completed at the bottom of South Street.

“We like condo living,” Wong said. “It’s kind of like living in a hotel.”

Laniauskas said the growing Ward Village community was what attracted him and his wife, who is eight months pregnant, to move from a condo tower in the Ala Moana area.

“We’re buying into Ward Village as much as we’re buying into the building,” he said. “Being walkable is what’s attractive (about the community).”

Laniauskas added that Whole Foods being part of the tower was a definite draw. “It’s great to have something like that below,” he said.

Whole Foods opened in May. The store isn’t directly below the condos, but is part of the building, which includes separate parking structures for retail customers and residents. Ae‘o residents can get to the store by walking through a portal on the second level of their parking garage that leads to the retailer’s garage and a store entrance.

Annalee English, the store’s manager, said business is expected to increase with all the residents moving in. “We’re excited to be their pantry downstairs,” she said. “It’s a huge convenience factor, for sure.”

Like Laniauskas, Wong expects he and his wife will be more frequent shoppers at Whole Foods.

“I think now that we live here, we’ll visit more often,” Wong said.

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Oceanfront East Honolulu estate sells for $16M: Slideshow

We are proud to have partnered with Tracy Allen of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties as the co-listing agent of this stunning property, Hale Hoolai. The oceanfront East Honolulu property sold for $15.845 million. Mahalo to Pacific Business News for covering the sale. Read more below:

The sale of an oceanfront estate in East Honolulu near the base of Hawaii Loa Ridge closed on Wednesday for $15.845 million to an unnamed buyer, the highest price ever for the Aina Haina Beach-Niu Beach area.

The 11,940-square-foot home at 5403 Kalanianaole Highway, named Hale Hoolai, has seven bedrooms — including three master suites, three bedrooms and a caretaker suite with a private kitchen and private entrance — 8.5 bathrooms and a three-car garage. It also has a pool and a tennis court.

The estate, which was listed for $17.95 million, had been featured on the NBC "Open House” program.

The seller was 5403 Kalanianaole Hwy LLC, whose owner is Morris Stoebner, owner of Honda Windward in Kaneohe.

Tracy Allen, independent agent with Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, represented the seller. Jack Tyrrell & Co. was the co-listor, and Loren Graham of Graham Properties Inc. represented the unnamed buyer.

The most recent large sale along that stretch of Kalanianaole Highway was the sale of a home and two parcels just Koko Head of the estate for $13.5 million in September 2014.

Allen also represented Stoebner in the highest sale to date in the Honolulu Multiple Listing Service, two homes at 145 Kailuana Loop that sold for $24 million in July 2006. That property, named Kai Moena, is currently listed with Brandon Kim of List Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Relocation of Kakaako farmers market to bring new life to demolished Ward Warehouse space

Photo: Kakaako Farmer’s Market Facebook page

Photo: Kakaako Farmer’s Market Facebook page

Kakaako Farmer’s Market has found a new home! As of November 17, the market will be moved from its current location adjacent to Ross’ to a more spacious venue - the former Ward Warehouse space, on Ala Moana Boulevard and Ward. Visit the market at its new location every Saturday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and support local!

Read more on Pacific Business News, here:

The Kakaako Farmers Market has found a new, and hopefully long-term, home in part of the recently demolished Ward Warehouse space.

Ward Warehouse was previously supposed to be the new home to Howard Hughes’ mixed-use Gateway Towers, but that plan was put on hold. The space is now expected to be a central plaza called Victoria Ward Park.

This will be the fourth location for the Kakaako iteration of FarmLovers Market, which has three other markets on Oahu in Waimea Valley, Pearlridge and Kailua. FarmLovers first opened in Haleiwa in 2009 and is owned by Pamela Boyar, who bought out her business partner, Annie Suite, earlier this year when she moved to the Mainland.

The first Kakaako location was at Ala Moana Center before it moved to Ward Village. It currently operates next to Ross at the Ward Gateway Center.

“We did really well at Ward Warehouse and it was a challenge when we moved to our current space because of the lack of parking,” Boyar said. “We are now going to be right on Ala Moana and Ward, which is a great space because it is very visible, and is located right next to a parking lot with 360 spaces that empties right into the market.”

Boyar signed a one-year lease with the Texas-based landlord, and hopes to extend the lease for at least another four years. It is unclear how the development of the 1.5-acre parcel will affect the longevity of the market.

The market, located at 1050 Ala Moana, will open Saturday Nov. 17 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Next year, Boyar hopes to also open on Wednesday evenings, with plans for ways to engage the local community, like live music and beer tastings in addition to the 50 local vendors.

“The idea is to make this the community food hub in Kakaako for residents, visitors and farmers. We want to open it up for this new movement of sustainable farmers that is happening right now,” Boyar said, adding that she is very particular as to which vendors she lets in. “They must be true local growers, and if they are making food or value-added products it must be healthy without artificial colors or flavors.”  

The vendors are comprised of about 40 percent farmers, 30 percent made-to-order meals, 20 percent value-added products and 10 percent artisan island retailers, selling things like jewelry and cutting boards. A new vendor is Hooah Farms, which will sell fish and vegetables as well as prepared meals at the market.  

Boyar estimates it costs about $10,000 to relocate to the new space, including labor costs, advertising, modifying the facilities, and purchasing new products like large banners she plans to display on Ala Moana Boulevard. She has launched an online Go Fund Me campaign for the first time, and has raised about $1,600 of her $4,800 goal.

“There was a recent survey done in California that said for every dollar spent in a farmers market, $3 is spent in outlying areas,” Boyar said. “When people shop at farmers markets, everything is put right back into the local community. It’s great for economic development.” 

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Ward Village tower developer can post first ‘sold out’ sign

Photo: Howard Hughes Corporation

Photo: Howard Hughes Corporation

Ae‘o is officially Howard Hughes Corporation’s first sold-out tower! The developer confirmed that as of late September, contracts for all 464 units had been signed. Waiea and Anaha are also very close to being sold-out, with 167 of 174 units of Waiea sold and 314 of 317 units of Anaha as of September 30. These impressive statistics show that the demand for a diversity of units in Ward Village is consistently strong. Ward Village offers a unique mix of urban living on an island due to its close proximity to the ocean and shops and dining. It seems that this type of mixed-use development is what Honolulu’s residents are craving, and the sales at Ward Village prove this.

For more information on Ae`o units for sale, visit my website.

Read more from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, below:

The developer of Ward Village in Kakaako took the tiniest of steps recently to reach a major milestone: declaring its first “sold out” condominium tower.

Texas-based Howard Hughes Corp. noted the last sales contract being signed for its nearly finished Ae‘o high-rise in a quarterly financial report Tuesday.

Hughes Corp. said it had signed contracts for all 465 units in the tower as of Sept. 30. The project contains a recently opened Whole Foods and is on schedule to finish residential area construction by the end of the year so buyers can complete their purchases and move in.

Up through June 30, there had been 464 Ae‘o sales. The one additional sale during the July-September period made Ae‘o the first tower at Ward Village to sell out.

However, three other towers — Anaha, Waiea and Ke Kilohana — are very close.

At Anaha, 314 of 317 units had been sold as of Sept. 30, Hughes Corp. reported. And at Waiea, 167 of 174 units had been sold as of the same date, the company said.

Waiea was finished about two years ago and Anaha opened a year ago.

At Ke Kilohana, which is under construction and projected to open next year, Hughes Corp. reported having signed sales contracts for 395 of 423 units through Sept. 30. The company also said it made 18 more sales in October to make the tower 98 percent sold.

Hughes Corp. started construction on a fifth tower, ‘A‘ali‘i, last month after offering units for sale in January. In Tuesday’s report, the company said it had sold 77 percent of the ‘A‘ali‘i units, or 579 of 771, through the end of October. That was up from 67 percent, or 500 units, through July.

The company described continued Ward Village condo sales as a “robust” response from buyers wanting to live in the growing neighborhood of residential towers, retail stores and restaurants mauka of Kewalo Harbor.

“In Honolulu, the extraordinary pace of sales in Ward Village continued in the third quarter,” Hughes Corp. CEO David Weinreb said in a statement.

The developer plans to follow ‘A‘ali‘i with a sixth tower called Ko‘ula, for which it received state approval in August. Sales have yet to start.

Since the company began Waiea, it said it has sold 1,905 residential units in five towers with units available for sale, or 89 percent of all units.

Most Ward Village condos are million-dollar residences, though Hughes Corp. is required by a state agency regulating development in Kakaako to make 20 percent of residential units affordable and available to residents earning moderate incomes.

At the high end, the average original price at Waiea was $3.6 million. At the low end, the average price at Ke Kilohana was $510,776.

Hughes Corp. has a state-approved master plan to develop up to around 4,500 residential units planned in 16 towers, along with 1 million square feet of retail businesses.

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Honolulu city and business leaders gather for ‘A‘ali‘i groundbreaking

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.

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Real Estate News: Oahu Single-Family Homes Sales Price Sets New Record in August

Photo: Property of Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

Photo: Property of Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

The Honolulu Board of REALTORS released August 2018 sales statistics for the island of Oahu. Read more on the findings, below:

The median price for single-family homes on Oahu reached an all-time high in August, according to resales figures released today by the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®. The analysis conducted by the Board, using data collected from its computerized Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system, offer the following statistics:

Source: Honolulu Board of REALTORS

In August, the median price for single-family homes increased by 3.0 percent to reach a new record of $810,000, which was previously set in June 2017 at $795,000. The median price for condominiums rose by 1.9 percent to $427,000. Sales for single-family homes dipped by 2.2 percent and condominium sales also decreased by 9.4 percent from the same month last year. According to the Days on Market indicator, the median days for single-family homes was 15 and 18 days for condominiums.

“While the median price for single-family homes has been pushed to a new high, homebuyers are also finding properties at or below the $600,000 price range,” said Darryl Macha, president of the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®. “Though overall inventory is tight, we are seeing pockets of the island where inventory is increasing, including the Ewa Plain and to some extent, Central Oahu. With the decline in pending sales for both single-family homes and condominiums, buyers may be experiencing a bit of ‘fatigue’ in a market where multiple offers have been common and are taking a pause in their home search. It’s something that other markets are also seeing.”

The information contained in this report is provided to the National Association of REALTORS® and the Hawaii State Department of Economic Development, Business and Tourism for its official reports. This report reflects information about resales of existing properties only and does not include new home sales. All of the MLS information is compiled from sales reported during the cited months; this data is known only after closing of escrow.

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