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Hotel tower to take place of NikeTown building in Waikiki

Andrew Gomes
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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / JULY 20, 2010 The former Niketown located at 2080 Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki remains vacant.

A 230-room hotel tower is slated to replace a failed modern four-story retail complex near the Ewa end of Waikiki known best for its long-closed NikeTown store.

The owner of the empty King Kalakaua Plaza building has submitted a permit application to the city indicating its plan to redevelop the site fronting Kalakaua and Kuhio avenues between Olohana and Kalaimoku streets.

A presentation from California-based Robertson Properties Group, which owns the site through affiliates, is also scheduled for a Waikiki Neighborhood Board meeting on Tuesday.

Under zoning rules, a tower is permitted to rise 300 feet or possibly higher.

If the plan is carried out, the hotel tower would add new life to a portion of Waikiki that other developers thought would do well with big-name retail tenants.

King Kalakaua Plaza was developed in 1997 for nearly $45 million and with 186 underground parking stalls on the site of the former Kuhio Theaters.

Multilevel flagship NikeTown and Banana Republic stores were the tenants along with the Official All Star Cafe, a sports-themed restaurant established by Planet Hollywood and backed by professional athletes including Tiger Woods, Shaquille O’Neal, Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and Andre Agassi. A fourth-floor space intended for a restaurant was never occupied.

Two years after opening though, All Star Cafe closed. A replacement sports bar took its place, but it fizzled and also closed.

The two anchor retailers continued in business until 2009 after the U.S. economic recession began to unfold. The project’s developer, Hawaii firm Honu Group, had lost the building in 2006 to foreclosure in part because of the half empty status of the building.

An affiliate of investment bank Lehman Bros. that financed the project took ownership of the complex. Then Lehman plunged into bankruptcy, and the company handed over the property to affiliates of Robertson around 2010. Robertson was the former real estate arm of former Kuhio Theaters operator Consolidated Amusement Co. that had leased the 1-acre block to Honu and was owed unpaid ground lease rent by Lehman.

Hotel use of the site was not possible under city zoning regulations until 2011 when the City Council abolished a “resort commercial” zoning category for many properties that became rezoned for mixed uses including hotel, residential and retail.

12 responses to “Hotel tower to take place of NikeTown building in Waikiki”

  1. Death_By_Snu_Snu says:

    Good. That block has been such a waste of space and looks sad at the gateway to Waikiki for too long.

  2. localguy says:

    Think back to all the lies elected bureaucrats and developers told us as they tore down Hamburger Marys and the Hula’s Gay Bar.

    How they would redevelope the area for increased property taxes, urban redevelopmentm, everyone wins. All lies.

    Sounds exactly like the endless money pit of Nei rail.

  3. SHOPOHOLIC says:

    Only 300 feet? F * # K it…why not go for 600?? It’s a dead, bad feng shui section of Waiks anyway…

  4. Shawn211 says:

    Totally awesome!! Another luxury condo in Waikiki!! Just what we needed to drain more of our natural resources!!

  5. Maipono says:

    NikeTown was a very cool store.

  6. iwanaknow says:

    Someone will be smilin’ all the way to the bank with BIG profits after this hotel gets goin’.

    I still have 1997 Official All Star Cafe red fleece jacket ($36.00 retail, back in the day)….maybe put it on E-Bay for a 19 year old garment?

  7. justmyview371 says:

    Sell City Hall already.

  8. Pacificsports says:

    Another Hotel in Waikiki, just what the locals need! Are they going to put in living quarters for the workers so we don’t have to drive 2 hours from the Westside?

    • rytsuru says:

      Oddly, the developers of hotels and shopping complexes don’t want their workers messing everything up by living nearby…after all you don’t want the help in the same upscale neighborhood you would live in or stay as a one percenter right…BUT they don’t seem to mind all the homeless squatting around. I wonder if it reminds the rich of the old days when the poor were just trash, and the middle class just the target of jokes being sad social climbers? Do you think the ones living in places like One Ala Moana and in the Ward area with ocean views look out at the encampments and chuckle to themselves as they sip a fine chardonnay in the evening? Telling their kids “that is what the unwashed masses are made of..you on the other hand are entitled and rich and can do anything you want”

  9. saywhatyouthink says:

    So Robertson takes back ownership in 2010, then the city council changes zoning laws to allow high rise construction in 2011. How convenient for Consolidated/Robertson, I wonder how much they gave each council member.

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