Howard Hughes Corporation Kaka'ako Development Update

Aug 3, 2017

The Aeo high-rise tower on Queen Street.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Ward Warehouse in Kaka’ako closed earlier this week and is scheduled to be torn down by the end of the year.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka visited the district and provides this update on development plans.

Three high rise towers are in various stages of construction in Kaka’ako…part of the Howard Hughes Corporation 60-acre Ward Village.  Todd Apo, vice president for community development, says their next 751-unit high rise on Queen Street, the A’ali’i, will start with owner-occupant sales for Hawai’i residents.

“Some amazing amenities.  What would have otherwise been a penthouse on the 42nd floor is gonna be a lanai for the residents.  So  on the Mauka side, you’re gonna have the fitness center so you can work out and then on the Makai side, it’s just an open lounge, in-door/out-door.  So whether your home is on the 30th floor or the 5th floor you can have a chance of going to the top of the building and then check out those amazing views.”

Todd Apo, VP for Community Development, Howard Hughes Corporation
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Prices have not been set but pre-sales will start next month.  The first two Howard Hughes luxury high-rises, the Waiea which opened last year, and the Anaha to be completed in October, are 95 percent sold and buyer incentives like a 3-year leased luxury vehicle are being offered to sell the remaining units.  Hawai’i Community Development Authority Board Chair, John Whalen, believes the luxury market in Kaka’ako is tapering off and Howard Hughes was asked to provide a 4-acre Central Plaza or park on the Ward Warehouse site.

“The amenities that Howard Hughes had promised in their master plan hadn’t yet been built.  And that park was an essential component of the whole Ward Village project and there’s no profit for them in it except that it’s probably a good marketing tool for them to say, “We have a central park here.”  I mean were shown that in renderings; we wanna see them on the ground and make sure that it’s here.”

Waikiki real estate broker, Patrick McMillen
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

The park is scheduled for completion next year and will be open to the public.   Real estate broker, Patrick McMillen, says luxury sales in Kaka’ako have also softened prices for comparable units in Waikiki.  He says it all comes down to pricing, which stalled the Allure Waikiki on Kalakaua Avenue a decade ago.

“The Allure, I don’t remember exactly but initially they were up around 900 to a million and then finally

reduced the price and were able to finish out the project.  And now, the latest project with Howard Hughes, is the A’ali’i.  That one more reasonable prices but the units are small.”

But, Apo says luxury sales are still strong at Ward Village.  He also says Howard Hughes Corporation is not as strapped as a single building developer.

“Being a 60-acre master planned community gives us a level of flexibility.  It gives us some ability to time things as needed.  Our property right now, if it’s not being developed, it’s in operation that’s providing some income for the company that we’re able to hold until we’re ready to re-develop it.  So, very different axiom than an individual parcel build.”

Apo says the 3 high rises being built, the Anaha, Aeo and Kekilohana,  will be anchored on the first floor by Merriman’s Restaurant, Whole Foods and Long’s Drug store.   Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.