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Kalakaua rent still pricey

Kristen Consillio
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Despite a recent 17 percent drop in average annual rents, Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki is still ranked as the fifth-most expensive retail market in North America with its average $300 per-square-foot rent prices.

Rent for retail space on Waikiki’s Kalakaua Avenue was down nearly 17 percent in May compared with a year ago, but it still ranked as the fifth-most expensive retail market in North America.

Kalakaua Avenue’s annual rents were estimated at $300 per square foot – 31st among the 137 priciest retail markets in the world, according to a survey released yesterday by Colliers International. Kalakaua rents had been steady at about $360 per square foot from 2006 to 2009.

The economic downturn, which has forced a number of retailers out of business over the past few years, has put pressure on landlords to lower rents.


The most expensive retail markets in North America and the world, with the annual per-square-foot rents:

1. New York’s Fifth Avenue, $1,250
2. New York’s Madison Avenue, $590
3. Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, $423
4. San Francisco’s Union Square, $400
5. Waikiki’s Kalakaua Avenue, $300

1. Paris’s Champs Elysees, $1,255
2. New York’s Fifth Avenue, $1,250
3. Hong Kong’s Russell Street, $1,205
4. London’s Bond Street, $1,174
5. Milan’s Via Monte Napoleone, $929
31. Waikiki’s Kalakaua Avenue, $300

Source: Colliers International

"Our vulnerability in having to rely on visitors to our islands has historically impacted the rise and fall of rents on Kalakaua Avenue," said Mike Hamasu, consulting and research director for Colliers Monroe Friedlander Inc.

Rents, however, remain at historically high levels compared with deeper downturns in previous decades, he said.

"It’s a desirable location because of what Waikiki is and also because of the amount of marketing that goes into that visitor destination," said Carol Pregill, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

Rounding out the top five priciest markets in North America are New York’s Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and San Francisco’s Union Square.

The five most expensive retail markets globally include Champs Elysees in Paris, New York’s Fifth Avenue, Hong Kong’s Russell Street, London’s Bond Street and Milan, Italy’s Via Monte Napoleone – all of which posted annual rents in excess of $900 per square foot.

"Kalakaua is without a doubt one of the top retail markets in the country, if not the world," said Mark Hollander, president of Crazy Shirts, which has six stores in Waikiki. "Rents are commensurate with that – it’s a great area to be."

The survey included 47 markets in Canada and the United States.


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