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Ward Centers redevelopment plan gets makeover

$1.25 billion first phase to start in 2014

By Andrew Gomes

LAST UPDATED: 11:19 a.m. HST, Oct 10, 2012

The owner of Ward Centers unveiled a revised vision today for redeveloping the collection of retail and industrial businesses covering 60 acres in Kakaako into a neighborhood dominated by residences and retail.

The new plan by Howard Hughes Corp. calls for skinnier towers and better mauka-makai views between them, among other changes that replace a four-year-old conceptual master plan created by former site owner, General Growth Properties.

Hughes Corp. anticipates being able to start construction on an initial phase that includes two market-priced residential towers and one moderate-priced residential tower in early 2014.

A renovation of the IBM office building also is part of the first phase that the company said will generate $1.25 billion in economic impact and 9,000 jobs.

Completion of the first phase is projected for 2016.

The revised vision comes two years after Texas-based Hughes Corp. acquired Ward Centers from Chicago-based General Growth as part of a deal to bring General Growth out of bankruptcy.

"The Howard Hughes Corp. is honored to take a leading role in the evolution of Kakaako," Nick Vanderboom, company vice president of development, said in a written statement.

The new plan for Ward Centers, which Hughes Corp. is calling Ward Village, represents a significant modification of the plan crafted by General Growth, which owns the state's largest shopping center, Ala Moana Center, located about a quarter-mile from Ward Centers.

General Growth announced its conceptual redevelopment plan for the Ward property in 2008. The Hawaii Community Development Authority, a state agency governing development in Kakaako, approved a broad framework in 2009, allowing up to 9.3 million square feet of building area on the 60 acres roughly bounded by Ala Moana, Queen Street, the IBM Building at the diamondhead end of Auahi Street and a cluster of parcels just ewa of Ward Avenue.

A centerpiece of Ward Neighborhood was a 3.3-acre landscaped central plaza connected to two smaller pedestrian plazas along Auahi, which was to be transformed into a boulevard lined with trees, gardens, open seating and outdoor art. Hughes Corp. is retaining the central plaza component, but will orient it more to face Kewalo Basin. The revised plan also would transform Auahi into a more pedestrian-friendly boulevard.

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Maneki_Neko wrote:
OK, so where is the link to a visual of the plan so we can see what is proposed? That "artist rendering" (French for "I pulled this design out of my 'elemu) looks like it is today. Let's also see how they got to the 9,000 jobs number - shoots, that's almost what Mufi said would be the total for $5 billion worth of Crazy Train. Must br a wild multiplier involved with that. Finally, exactly what variances will Hughes be asking from HCDA to do this project and are any public monies involved as in tax deferrals, credits, etc?

Hate to sound suspicious but we have all seen unbelievable stuff surrounding Kaka'ako development schemes and scams. Donnez-moi le details.

on October 10,2012 | 12:15PM
onlyaloha wrote:
photos? more details?
on October 10,2012 | 12:30PM
csdhawaii wrote:
on October 10,2012 | 01:23PM
Oahuan wrote:
Why are we still building in Honolulu? Why can't or won't they develop on the West Side?! Remember the second city? Forget about rail, DEVELOP THE WESTSIDE ALREADY!!!
on October 10,2012 | 02:48PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
The above bunch don't see progress. They have a senior coffee at McDonalds, with free refill and wifi, and gripe.
on October 10,2012 | 04:57PM
iansuen wrote:
However, that encourages urban spawl. Proper urban planning isn't as simple as developing somewhere else.
on October 10,2012 | 06:35PM
OPGLAW wrote:
Any development in Kakaako that is urban, pedestrian friendly and bike friendly, with cool looking buildings (not beige!) and open air plazas is ok in my book....!
on October 10,2012 | 07:31PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
What NO iwi's in Ward area?
on October 10,2012 | 07:52PM
Woofwoofwoof wrote:
Stop progress! Limit the height to 75 feet.
on May 21,2013 | 10:36PM
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