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HCDA approves plan for $10M fairground in Kakaako

By Andrew Gomes

LAST UPDATED: 01:17 a.m. HST, Mar 07, 2013

The Hawaii Community Development Authority's board of directors Wednesday approved a proposal for a year-round fairground in Kakaako with go-kart racing, a zip line, indoor skydiving and a surfing wave pool.

Project developer Billy Balding is proposing to spend $10 million to develop the attraction on a 3-acre parcel leased from Kamehameha Schools near Kakaako Makai Gateway Park on Ala Moana Boulevard.

Balding, 48, a competitive canoe paddler, tow-in surfer and triathlete, said he has dreamed of establishing a place for young and old to have fun for 20 years.

He said his project would employ about 45 people and could begin partial operation as soon as May 31.

However, Balding will be required to obtain a special management area permit. He also needs to finalize a lease with Kamehameha Schools, which has expressed enthusiasm for the fairground near 29 acres that the trust intends to redevelop with several residential towers, stores and restaurants.

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Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Really? Such a prime location, and a fairground is the best we can come up with? To be sure, the fairground plans sound like it would appeal to families, but why does it have to be there? There's lots of other places that could go. Such a choice area should have something much more.
on March 6,2013 | 11:30AM
Hanalei13 wrote:
Don't necessarily disagree with you, but mini golf and go karts?! I'm sold! What else would you propose be built there? I think it would be a good edition to the park, adding more activities. Plus, remember, that area used to be a dump so any planning and revitalization of the area will go a long way; just need to start getting the pieces to the puzzle together.
on March 6,2013 | 12:09PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
There's a ton of things that could go there that fits better with the area. Go-Karts don't exactly scream Hawaii, doesn't fit into an area that's yards from the ocean, next to a beach. What about taking some of the concepts that Disney has out in Aulani and placing it there. A kind of waterland play area, that kamaaina and tourists can enjoy, that also fits into the surrounding area. What about a marina type area for small-boats, fishing excursions, ocean activities. There's lots that could be done there. And I don't think a fairground is the right answer. A fairground belongs on the grounds at the Stadium parking lot, at the open football field of high schools, not on prime makai land between downtown and Waikiki. Smells like a sweetheart deal to me...
on March 6,2013 | 12:45PM
inverse wrote:
Also people who can afford to visit Hawaii are jaded and would not waste time nor look highly on a rinky dink amusement park that Kakaako development plans to be. Even $10 million for such an amusement park would not amount to more than a boring, pathetic and rinky dink operation compared to Disney Land, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knotts Berry Farm, etc. that these same Hawaii visitors frequent. You are da ng right, this is a sweetheart deal, similar in the way Andy Anderson attempted a decade earlier with his proposed Kakaako amusement park excpet his had a "ferris wheel" ride. The deal also sound famiiar to Jeff Stone's Ghost Aquarium that he planned to be build in Ko Olina. I know construction unions are chomping on the bit and pressuring lawmakers to pass this so they can have some jobs but the BETTER solution is for these construction unions to STOP supporting the train to nowhere that does NOT provide local construction workers jobs, instead will send BILLIONS of Hawaii taxpayer out of the State/country to the Mainland and Italy; and instead demand the rail project be killed and have the City/State work on improving road/highway infrastructure such as fixing the know Oahu bottlenecks with flyover/flyunder/ limited double decking such as the H1/H2 merge; E bound H-1 Moanlua freeway cutoff, E bound middle street merge and the Vineyard/Ward/Piikoi onramp/ Punahou offramp nightmares.
on March 6,2013 | 01:21PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Slightly different topic (infrastructure fix), but generally I agree, b/c yes even that'd be a better use of funds.
on March 6,2013 | 01:28PM
OPGLAW wrote:
ramble much?
on March 6,2013 | 03:31PM
poidragon wrote:
One point you fail to see, is that even Disney land started out as a small operation, that overtime has become a behemoth in it's industry. Besides, who said it was finished planning? There is always room to expand, once it is up and running, but little minds like you, can't see the whole picture.......................too bad for you!
on March 6,2013 | 07:25PM
inverse wrote:
"What else would you propose be built there?"

How about a nice open PARK SPACE that people can have a picnic, walk along the shoreline, sit and watch the ocean waves pass. There should be parking, HOWEVER it is paid parking maybe $2 an hour and no employees or homeless people squatting in the park or in their cars. People who visit Hawaii spend THOUSANDS to enjoy the weather, clean air, "relatively" safe environment, open park spaces, QUIET place to enjoy or reflect upon themselves, etc. There is a place for a go kart track, rock climbing wall, wave pool, however it is NOT on prime beach front property where Waikiki, Ala Moana is Oahu's signature beach.
on March 6,2013 | 01:08PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Generally agree inverse. That was part of the idea behind my suggestion of an Aulani-like area, b/c then people could have parts of it that they can relax and enjoy.
on March 6,2013 | 01:29PM
koji wrote:
that is what is there now, and its taken over by homeless.
on March 6,2013 | 02:21PM
goodday wrote:
Why would this guy pay for park space to be built? There is already a huge park and a lot of open area nearby. This is not prime beach front property. This is unused deteriorating warehouses that would probably continue as they are without his good intentions.
on March 6,2013 | 02:52PM
Naloboy wrote:
The land fronts Ala Moana, not the ocean. But in general....yes....what could be done here that is a higher purpose? Answer: Just about anything!
on March 6,2013 | 03:18PM
serfboy wrote:
Have you heard the term "Interim Use"? Look it up; it's a real estate term.
on March 6,2013 | 05:10PM
niimi wrote:
This is for the tourists. They need a quasi theme park within a 20 minute drive (no traffic) of Waikiki.
on March 6,2013 | 09:09PM
Fred01 wrote:
on March 6,2013 | 12:19PM
koji wrote:
traffic congestion is going to be a fluster f
on March 6,2013 | 02:21PM
hon2255 wrote:
This place will not last, after the interest wears out , it will go bankrupt like the rest of the amusement places like the water park and batting cages near stadium. Put in a baseball field and football field for the little leagues football leagues, utilize artificial turf to cut down on maintenance costs. or Put up a new Stadium over there and sell off the land where that rusty , good for nothing structure is now in Aiea.
on March 6,2013 | 02:56PM
Naloboy wrote:
Fairgrounds? Isn't that a place where Fairs are held. This is no Fairground. That is lipstick on a pig. Its still a pig. Instead of something that has some real community benefit we get the trashiest type of entertainment center imaginable. We can thank Kamehameha Schools for this. Its their property. The HCDA only controls the permitting. Shame on KS for not insisting on something that has real value for this location....off the top of my head....Farmers Market and local art/crafts. This place will be an eyesore and a joke for our city.
on March 6,2013 | 03:17PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
i> a competitive canoe paddler, tow-in surfer and triathlete

Good luck, Billy. Hope you also have a good business partner and mentor.

on March 6,2013 | 03:43PM
globalball wrote:
Seems really tacky for that site and probably comes with a lot of noise.
on March 6,2013 | 03:52PM
jusjoking wrote:
Good temporary use plan for this prime town property. Probably won't last, much like a castle park. These planners/permits people know they can rip this amusement park down and build the highrise development later. Kamehameha schools no doubt will like the revenue and keep ownership till some developer is ready to build what this property deserves.
on March 6,2013 | 04:13PM
poidragon wrote:
Just curious to find out, how much will the HCDA make off of this financial deal? Makes me wonder if that spot chosen to be used for the amusement park, is the best spot, as it is located in the hurricane inundation zone with in Kaka'ako!
on March 6,2013 | 07:22PM
niimi wrote:
I wonder who got paid how much to approve this one?
on March 6,2013 | 09:06PM
niimi wrote:
Castle Park is reborn in the 21st century. That lasted, what, 20 years?
on March 6,2013 | 09:06PM
Makiki_Al wrote:
on March 7,2013 | 02:14AM
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