High-rise proposed for Waikiki
Yay another! 27-31 stories? Let's hope!
A Mainland real estate firm has proposed building a condominium or time-share high-rise at the 'ewa end of Kuhio Avenue, a project that would be another major investment in Waikiki but one that also is raising community concerns.
Belrad Group LLC of San Francisco and New York wants to develop either a 27-story apartment/condo or 31-story time-share building on about 2.5 vacant acres along Kuhio Avenue and Kalai-moku Street.
A developer's representative recently shared project plans with Waikiki Neighborhood Board and city government officials, who expressed a mix of support and concern.
"This will definitely be controversial," said Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association. "We were hoping for more of a commercial development on Kuhio Avenue, but certainly time-share could be more economically beneficial than a commercial development because it would bring more visitors here."
The project would require a zoning change from resort commercial to resort mixed-use.
Area residents expressed concerns primarily over blocked views and traffic.
A group of residents living in the nearby Four Paddle residential high-rise is trying to organize opposition to the project, referred to as 2121 Kuhio.
Organizers, going by the name Homeowners Committee for Protection of Waikiki Environmental Rights, have scheduled a meeting at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Waikiki Community Center to discuss their concerns that the project will encourage construction of more high-rises and create traffic, air pollution, power failures and a loss of sunshine and breeze.
But other Waikiki residents, who said they sympathize with residents of the 25-story Four Paddle and the nearby 24-story La Casa condo whose views would be obstructed, say the developer could build an office tower or retail complex with similar impact under existing zoning.
"To me, it would be a nicer project than if they went up 300 feet with retail," said Bob Finley, neighborhood board chairman.
Finley said the board felt it would be premature to take a position on the project. Members have scheduled another presentation by the developer at the board's May 11 meeting.
City Councilman Charles Djou said that if city finances were sufficient, he'd love to condemn the property for a park, but the city doesn't have the money.
"It's sort of a game of chicken. If you tell them no they can't put up the time-share (or condo), they could say well then we're going to put up an office tower," Djou said, adding that keeping the property an empty lot is not desirable either.
City planning director Eric Crispin said the Planning and Permitting Department would support a mixed-use project that included restaurants and shops on the ground level of the building.
Belrad included a low-rise restaurant complex in its summary, but it was unclear how that component was integrated with the high-rise.
Belrad officials did not return inquiries seeking comment. Belrad's local consultant Kusao & Kurahashi referred a request for project details to a development official who did not respond yesterday.
The project site was once the home of Hula's Bar & Lei Stand and is occupied by an old banyan tree, which would remain.
The site is owned by K3 Owners LLC, which includes Honolulu-based development firm Honu Group and Lehman Bros., though one source familiar with plans said Honu is in the process of selling its stake in the property.
Honu and Lehman developed the luxury retail complex 2100 Kalakaua on the makai portion of the property, which is across Kalaimoku from King Kalakaua Plaza, another Honu retail project.
Honu had envisioned developing the 2121 Kuhio site into a third retail complex. Honu officials were traveling and unavailable for comment.
So now its:
450 (432 in city) <-This according to SS.Com but i'm pretty sure there's more
12+ buildings Anyhow, i hope this project works out and the NIMBYS stop whining and shut their F'king pie holes!