Category Archives: Headlines

Update: Eat the Street Finds New Home at Fisherman’s Wharf Site


The massively popular “Eat the Street” street food festival and its organizer Street Grindz has a new home in Kakaako, thanks to an agreement with The Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The festival had to leave its longstanding site at 555 South Street with construction set to begin on Keahou Lane, a condominium development by Stanford Carr and Kamehameha Schools. For the next “Eat the Street,” the event will move to Kakaako Gateway Park.

But the park is a popular gathering place for homeless people, and the state went as far as to say that it was hoping the popular festival would drive them away. Street Grindz told KHON: “We have no intention of displacing the homeless community or removing them permanently. Street Grindz is merely renting the park space from HCDA for one day each month.”

While April’s “Eat the Street” will still happen at the park, the new agreement with OHA will allow “Eat the Street” to explore ways to make use of the site of the former Fisherman’s Wharf at the bottom of Ward Avenue beginning this summer. The official OHA press release follows:

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs announced today it is leasing the lot that formerly housed Fisherman’s Wharf to Street Grindz, LLC. The agreement provides Street Grindz with interim access rights for daily activities at the site, while OHA prepares a master plan for the use of the 30 acres of land it owns in Kaka‘ako Makai.

For the last few months, Street Grindz has been diligently working with MoJo – The Business of Food, and actively collaborating with OHA planning and conceptualizing future plans for Kaka’ako Makai. “We are fortunate that OHA is on board with our concept for the space, giving us the opportunity to go back to our roots of supporting local, small businesses while focusing on our passion for sustainability in Hawai‘i” said Poni Askew, Owner and CEO of Street Grindz.

“Street Grindz has created exciting and interesting dining concepts,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, Ka Pouhana (CEO) of OHA. “This interim use will help make our Kaka‘ako Makai lands a gathering place while we continue to work on a master plan for future development.”

Plans for construction will begin as soon as April, with an expected completion date this summer. Askew said, “A lot of the inspiration for our concept draws from our experiences with markets and dining around the world and in the US. You’ll just have to watch it all unfold in the next couple of months.”

Updated to clarify that “Eat the Street” will still take place at Kakaako Gateway Park in April. Photo illustration courtesy OHA.

Profiling the People Driving Kakaako Development

Don Wallace continues his multi-part musings on Kakaako. Following the inaugural “Urban Hawaii” piece, he now looks at the players behind Kakaako’s transformation, and how some of their past developments inform what’s happening on Oahu.

As cold and impersonal as all this sounds, there is a tradition of highly competent social engineering through master-planned communities inside this tale. Basically, a couple of the country’s most successful waterfront revitalizations, and several of its original and largest start-from-scratch communities, like Summerlin, come from the General Growth Properties/Howard Hughes Corporation hui, which includes another, seminal developer, the Rouse Company.

If you’ve visited and liked Boston’s Faneuil Hall seafront and New York City’s South Street Seaport, then you’ve fallen under the spell of Rouse Company’s main innovation, the “festival marketplace.” Though Rouse was absorbed by GGP in 2004, we’re still living in its world of theme-park-like commercial spaces filled with niche boutiques, open-air kiosks, repurposed and historical elements, and stocked with approved buskers and entertainers. It’s safe to say you’ll encounter the look and feel, the vocabulary and grammar of Faneuil and South Street, in the new Kakaako.

Don Wallace is a long-time magazine editor and author, and was the literary and film editor for the Honolulu Weekly.

Read the full story:
Urban Hawaii: Who Is Remaking Kakaako? – Civil Beat

Construction of ‘The Collection’ Underway

A $200 million, 465-unit condominium project is being built at the former CompUSA site along Ala Moana Boulevard, between South and Keawe streets.

‘The Collection’ sold out in August, with 54 owner-occupied lofts (including 48 studios) selling for between $349,000 and $580,000 (for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom loft). The project is being built by Alexander & Baldwin, with the 3.3 acre site acquisition completed on Oct. 6.

For more information, visit

KoAloha Ukulele Moving to Kakaako

Image KoAloha UkuleleKoAloha Ukulele announced today that it is relocating its factory and showroom from Kalihi to Kakaako next year. The new location will be a 4,000-square-foot space in the Iolani Building on Kona Street.

The new facility will offer many of the same things that the Kalihi location did, including the factory, showroom, and performance area to showcase artists and community partners. But there will also be a new area for both visitors and locals to purchase unique made-in-Hawaii merchandise created by KoAloha Ukulele artisans, and items featured by up-and-coming local vendors. Plans for the future may also include classes on ukulele instruction.

“With the on-going popularity of ukulele around the world, we find that many are wanting to learn more about this little instrument,” says Alan Okami. “And along with learning more about ukulele, comes interest with learning about Hawai`i, its culture, and people.”

“In a small way, all of us at KoAloha feel as if we are helping to share the good word of what Hawai`i is all about via our humble wooden ukulele instruments,” adds Paul Okami. “Being closer to the hub of Honolulu and the new developments surrounding the Kaka`ako neighborhood is great because now we will be within walking distance for many visitors who stay in the Waikiki area, as well as closer to a lot of local businesses.”

Paul and Alan are the sons of KoAloha’s founders, Patricia and Alvin “Pops” Okami.

‘Live, Work, Play’ Vision for Kakaako

An extensive feature on Kakaako was published in the September 2014 issue of Hawaii Business magazine, “Kakaako: Remade for the 21st Century.” Powell Berger writes:

The Collection In so many ways, the live/work/play promise of Kakaako seems to better match the emerging 21st century way of life than the rest of Oahu. The area’s redevelopment is still in its early stages and likely to span another two decades, so it’s not clear if it will deliver on its promises. But even though Kakaako is not for everyone, the robust sales of both workforce and luxury condos indicate that urban planners and developers were right: Build it and they will come.

Kakaako Park Gets Facelift

Mother Waldron Park to reopen with facelift in Kakaako

Mother Waldron Park - KITVMother Waldron Park will reopen Monday after more than $500,000 went into the greening of the Kakaako park. The facelift is thanks to developer Stanford Carr, who built the affordable rental project next to the park. Hale Hauwila Place came in under budget, so the extra money went to redo the playground and upgrade the bathrooms.


HCDA Holds Open House


The HCDA held an open house Saturday to encourage community input.

Charts, maps and photos covered the walls of its meeting room, but there is a real space just outside the doors of the building, and residents are concerned about what the future holds for the neighborhood.

“On a piece of paper, it looks just fine, that by 2030, we’re going to have 30,000 people in Kakaako,” said area resident Eva Gallegos. “But people need to realize that this is a postage stamp-sized piece of land. Where are they going to bring in 30,000 people (to) live here?”

Future plans for Kakaako development discussed

Kakaako Fitness to Open on Waimanu Street


Pacific Business News reports that Definition Personal Fitness is moving to a new space at 815 Waimanu Street and will change its name to Kakaako Fitness. The gym is owned by Michele Tokuda.

“It would appeal to people who need the one-on-one attention, that personalized training,” Tokuda told PBN. “We’re not a membership gym.”

Michele Tokuda received her degree in Exercise Physiology in 1991 at Oregon State University and started off as a group exercise instructor as well as a fitness manager for a corporation. She opened Definition Personal Training in 2008, which has evolved into a training studio and a group fitness room for additional classes (Zumba, Yoga, Belly Dancing, TRX, Boot Camp, and Jiu-Jitsu).

815 Waimanu Street

Sen. Ige questions governor’s appointee to HCDA

David IgeHawaii Sen. David Ige, gubernatorial candidate and chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said he would oppose the permanent appointment of Brian Tamamototo to the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA).

Ige said questions if Tamamoto qualifies to fill a seat designated for a representative from a small business, defined as “a business which is independently owned and which is not dominant in its field of operations” as stated in the law.

Tamamoto is executive vice-president of Royal Holdings, LLC, a small holding company of the Kobayashi Group, and has been serving on the HCDA on an interim basis after being approved by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

The HCDA is charged with approving development in the Kakaako area, and among the Kobayashi Groupʻs projects there are the 40-story Royal Capitol Plaza — the first residential property ever approved by the HCDA — and the 248-unit luxury high-rise Hokua, fronting Ala Moana Blvd.

“This is not about an individual or company,” said Sen. Ige (D, Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea). “It is the principle as this position is designated for a small-business representative and I question if a holding company of the Kobayashi Group fits the definition. Citizens are concerned already about the make-up of the HCDA and the pace at which it is approving projects.

The Senateʻs confirmation vote is scheduled for Tuesday, April 29.

It comes as a bill passed by the state Legislature, HB 1866, which makes changes to the HCDA appointment process, sits on the governorʻs desk awaiting action. Sen. Ige said even if the bill is signed into law Thursday, Tamamoto would serve through March 2015, allowing the opportunity to vote on development matters impacting Kaka`ako. Ige has received calls from many residents of Kaka`ako concerned with issues that could be brought before the HCDA board for approval over the next few months leading up to March 2015.

“Whether it be the owner of an auto-repair shop or an entrepreneur who just opened a small restaurant, these small Kakaako business owners should have a voice in development of the area,” Sen. Ige said.

About the Law:

Section 206E-3(b) states: “Of the three members (county members) 2 members shall represent small businesses… and shall be designated as the small business representatives on the board whose purpose, among other things, is to vote on matters before the board that affect small businesses. The small business representatives shall be owners or active managers of a small business with its principal place of operation located within the physical boundaries of each designated district.”

From Ryan Tsuji, Hawaii State Senate.