Incoming Waikiki highrise forces closure of landmark, driving out small businesses

Business owners caught off guard by changes

Incoming Waikiki highrise forces closure of landmark, driving out small businesses
A rendering of Hilton's newest development in Waikiki: a 32-story tower.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Another tower will be added to the Waikiki skyline thanks to Hilton Grand Vacations.

HGV, a global timeshare company, announced its development plans Wednesday for a 1.05-acre site that currently envelops King’s Village, Hale Waikiki Apartments and Prince Edwards Apartments.

These buildings will be replaced by a 32-story tower – making it HGV’s sixth property in Honolulu.

Dozens of shop and restaurant owners will have to close their doors and residents at Hale Waikiki Apartments and Prince Edward Apartments will have to find somewhere else to live.

One resident received an eviction letter saying to be out by January 31st, 2019.

“We are sad that kings village is closing," said Jason Park, manager at The Jade Tree. "You gatta be a big brand name to open up in Waikiki now. So it’s becoming harder and harder for entrepreneurs or small businesses to actually have a business in Waikiki.”

The Jade Tree specialized in originally designed Hawaiian jewelry and Park said it is one of the original businesses since King’s Village opened in the 1970s.

In anticipation of the new project, Park said The Jade Tree has opened another location inside the Marriott off Kalakaua Avenue. But he is still unsure how the move will affect business.

“It’s very sentimental to have our original store. And we’ve been business for quite sometime, we have a lot of repeat customers, so hopefully they’ll know to go to the new store,” Park said.

HGV’s purchase of the King Village plot continues the company’s efforts to expand its portfolio on Oahu.

“I was a little surprised that it had been bought out," said Waikiki Neighborhood Board Vice Chair Louis Erteschik. "I mean the fact that there were some plans about going ahead with a new project, that’s not surprising because they did come to the neighborhood board and I assume the city council a few years ago, but it was a different owner, and they had proposed a project that was going to be condos and maybe some commercial space, but mostly residential.”

The new tower will feature 191 units, a fitness center, pool, business center and owners’ lounge.

Right in the heart of Waikiki -- the property will include 191 units, compromised of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.

“Our latest project in Waikiki will assure that HGV continues to offer lifetime vacation experiences to our next generation of owners,” said Mark Wang, president and CEO of Hilton Grand Vacations. “We’re also excited that this project will be the first Hawaii location for our Hilton Club, which offers premium levels of design and amenities.”

Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and conclude in 2022.

The amount for what HGV purchased the properties for was not disclosed.

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