May 21, 2013, 9:44am HST Updated: May 21, 2013, 1:50pm HST
Duane Shimogawa | Reporter- Pacific Business News
The Howard Hughes Corp. plans to add more than 900 residential units in two market-rate condominium towers and one mostly affordable residential tower as part of the first phase of its Ward Village master plan in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood.
David Striph, senior vice president of Hawaii for Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) said Tuesday that the developer is in the process of renovating the iconic IBM Building into a new information center and sales gallery as part of its first phase of the 60-acre urban master planned community that would eventually double the retail, dining and entertainment space in Kakaako.
Ninety percent of the units in a 415-unit tower planned for 404 Ward Ave., which would include commercial space and parking, would be affordable, with the rest market rate.
Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development for The Howard Hughes Corp., said that the two market rate towers — one planned for a surface parking lot across from the Consolidated Theatres Ward Stadium 16 and the other at the current Pier 1 Imports location diagonally across the street — will have a total of 500 units. Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR) will be relocated to another spot to accommodate the tower.
Vanderboom said that one tower will have 300 units and the other will have 200 units, but the price ranges for both are still being worked out.
The plan is to build the out the first phase concurrently with the affordable tower being the first application submitted to the Hawaii Community Development Authority. A hearing for the project is scheduled for next month.
Vanderboom says he expects that it will submit applications for the other projects some time this summer.
Groundbreaking for the first phase is scheduled for early next year with an expected finish date in early 2016, he said.
Howard Hughes Corp. has selected architects for the first phase, including an unidentified local firm, but has yet to choose general contractors for the first phase, Vanderboom said.
This first phase is expected to have an economic impact of $1.25 billion, create 9,000 direct and indirect jobs and add more than 1.5 million square feet as well as more than 900 residential units to Kakaako, which is being called “The Third City.”
Howard Hughes Corp. said that it has gone beyond many of the requirements for development under the master plan approved by the HCDA, noting that the towers in the first phase will have a mauka-makai orientation, which will showcase the views for residents while preserving the skyline for others.
The company also plans to build more than three times the required affordable housing in the first phase and new buildings along Ala Moana Boulevard will be set back to create a “greenbelt lined with townhouses.”
Ward’s approved master plan allows for up to 9.3 million total square feet of mixed-use development, including more than 4,000 residential units and about 1.5 million square feet of retail and other commercial space, said David Weinreb, CEO of Howard Hughes, in a letter to shareholders in March.
He noted that Ward Village has development rights for 22 high-rise towers in an urban master-planned community setting. Ward Village’s transformation is scheduled to happen throughout the next decade.