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Ward Village condo sales still rising despite COVID-19

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2019
                                Through the end of June, 429 of 565 Ko‘ula condo units at Ward Village have been sold. The living area of a model showroom for the Ko‘ula tower is shown.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2019

    Through the end of June, 429 of 565 Ko‘ula condo units at Ward Village have been sold. The living area of a model showroom for the Ko‘ula tower is shown.

Honolulu’s biggest condominium tower producer is selling more new homes despite the coronavirus pandemic that has sapped much of Hawaii’s economy.

Howard Hughes Corp. noted in a financial report Monday that sales continue to grow at its master-planned Ward Village community in Kakaako, where two towers are under construction and a third is projected to break ground early next year.

The Texas-based company reported signing 13 sales contracts at Ward Village during the three months ended June 30, followed by six more in July.

Those new purchases represent a slowdown in the pace of sales since the first three months of the year, but Hughes Corp. characterized activity in the second quarter as a continuation of “strong” momentum.

“We are encouraged that Ward Village has continued to resonate with momentum in sales, construction, and future development, allowing us to contribute in a meaningful way to the local economy and progress this vibrant neighborhood in the heart of Honolulu,” Doug Johnstone, the company’s Hawaii president, said in a statement.

Most of the sales in the second quarter were from Victoria Place, a planned 349-unit tower with average unit prices over $1 million.

Victoria Place sales began in December, and 225 contracts were signed through March. In the second quarter, 11 more Victoria Place sales contracts were inked.

“At Ward Village in Hawaii, we saw a continuation of the strong first-quarter results as we continued to execute on sales, most notably at Victoria Place where we are approximately 69.3% pre-sold as of July 28,” company CEO Paul Layne said in a statement.

Hughes Corp. had mixed results with sales at two towers under construction in the April-June period, with two additional sales at ‘A‘ali‘i and two sale cancellations at Ko‘ula because purchasers failed to fulfill obligations that include making deposits.

Through the end of June, 630 of 750 units have been sold, and 429 of 565 Ko‘ula units have been sold.

For all of Ward Village, Hughes Corp. has reported selling 88% of units at seven towers including four completed since 2016.

The company also said total potential future revenue from signed sales contracts for condos mostly in uncompleted towers equates to $1.48 billion.

One negative development the company mentioned in its financial report had to do with collecting rent from retail tenants. The company said in the report that nearly all its retail tenants at Ward Village had to close temporarily due to COVID-19, and that in the second quarter it collected 50% of retail tenant rent throughout all company properties that include mainland assets.

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