Don Horner, the former CEO of First Hawaiian Bank, is developing a 5,000-square-foot Denny’s restaurant on a vacant parcel in Waikiki across from the Honolulu Zoo, he confirmed to PBN.
Horner, who retired as CEO of First Hawaiian Bank in 2012, told PBN Tuesday that a lease has been signed with a franchisee of Denny’s, and that the new 200-seat restaurant will be called “Diamond Head Denny’s.”
“The Hawaiian design will incorporate a tile roof, stucco finish exteriors, abundant landscaping, tiki torches, outdoor seating, bike racks, surf board storage for employees and 12 on-site parking stalls,” he said. “The interiors will have an ‘old Hawaii’ surfing theme, using local art and textures.”
Horner noted that the space will also include a 40- to 50-seat banquet room with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment to be used for birthday parties, local civic clubs, condominium board meetings and other meetings.
“The objective is to create a casual, family-dining experience for both locals and visitors,” he said. “The operator is considering validating 1-2 hours of parking at the city’s zoo parking lot across the street to encourage local families’ patronage.”
The new restaurant will include outdoor seating for 40 and is expected to employ more than 30 people.
Horner anticipates interviewing contractors to work on the project in the next 120 days, with an opening date tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2016. His firm purchased the land at the corner of Kuhio and Kapahulu avenues last year.
Tom Schnell, principal for Honolulu-based PBR Hawaii & Associates Inc., is expected to present plans on the project at the Sept. 8 Waikiki Neighborhood Board meeting.
The franchisee for Diamond Head Denny’s is Medhat Bechay, who owns about 16 Denny’s franchises, mostly in California. He also owns two franchises on Oahu, with one in Kunia in West Oahu and another in Kaneohe at the Windward City Shopping Center.
Horner formed Malu Investment I LLC about three years ago for the purchase of the long-vacant 13,461-square-foot property at 208 Kapahulu Ave., which is next to the Makee Ailana condominium (former Scandia), as first reported by PBN.
Pacific Business News