Future of The Advertiser's historic building unknown - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Future of The Advertiser's historic building unknown

Kiersten Faulkner Kiersten Faulkner

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Advertiser building has stood at the corner of Kapiolani Boulevard and South Street since 1929. The three story structure is on the state and national list of historic places.

"It's got the Spanish tiled roof, the twin towers, the terra cotta detailing. It was a forerunner to the contemporary art museum in the 1960's so it still has the really special touches from that time," said Kiersten Faulkner, Historic Hawaii Foundation Executive Director.

It used to have a courtyard inside which was enclosed in 1961 when the Star Bulletin shared the building and needed more space. Any structural changes now need to be approved.

"That means whatever they do with it they need to be respectful of history. They need to keep the characteristics, architecture, form and detailing that made it historic in the first place," said Faulkner.

Being historic can also potentially limit the buildings future. The building has already been up for sale for five years and commercial real estate developers say the property is worth much less than it was years ago.

"It's nice to have a historic property designated on your site as a tourist attraction possibly, but from a commercial perspective if the property is old and in need of rehabilitation it can be a hassle to get it redeveloped and it's a lot more costly," said Mike Hamasu, Colliers Monroe & Friedlander Director of Consulting and Research, who has worked in commercial real estate the past 20 years.

Hamasu says it takes a lot more time and money to renovate historic spots and with commercial property values down about 15 to 20 percent it's not the ideal time to keep a building like this on the market.

"If they need to sell it's a tough environment to sell into. It would be more astute to hold on to the property at least until the market swings upward again," said Hamasu.

The historic building occupies about a quarter of the property. The rest is parking lot and supplemental buildings that are not historic and could be developed. There is a chance a new owner could get approved to put something like a high rise in the parking lot but Hamasu says that isn't likely.

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