HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new hotel planned for Waikiki may be the first to be built on the shore in more than 3 decades. The building is designed to blend in with its beach backdrop but not everyone supports the plan.
Kyoya's "new" Diamond Head tower would replace the old 8-story building next to its Sheraton Moana Surfrider.
When completed, it would be a 26-story oceanfront mix of hotel rooms and condo units.
Kyoya company president, Greg Dickhens, calls it "re-investment."
Dickhens explained, "This would be the first new hotel in over thirty years. And we think it's very important for us to see new hotel product and new inventory."
Kyoya says it consulted cultural and community groups for input. So, the final product blends with its surroundings.
Architect Robert Iopa elaborated, "In being influenced by surfing we looked to incorporate that into some of the vertical aspects of our exterior of the building."
The center of the makai side would look like a giant surfboard standing on its tail.
Iopa worked in the Hawaiian concept of mountain-to-ocean subdivisions on the side facing the street. He details, "We talk about the healing stones of Waikiki, we talk about the surf, we talk about the waves down into the coral. So, all of these images would be depicted on the mauka side of our building.
Kyoya says the new tower would sit perpendicular to Kalakaua Avenue. It would be 308 feet tall at its highest point but still offer new views of the ocean.
Dickhens adds, "There's not one single location on Kalakaua Avenue where you can see the ocean from private property. This will be the first. And we think there will be 3 different locations on this site where pedestrians walking down Kalakaua Avenue will be able to see the ocean."
Kyoya says another benefit to pedestrians would be beach access. Right now there's only one way to the water through private property: along the busiest section of Kalakaua.
Iopa states, "The second will be fifteen feet wide, it'll be landscaped. It'll be beside the surfboard racks that exist at Kuhio Beach Park."
The company says it re-worked its original plan to comply with a city directive.
Dickhens conveyed, "The city determined that we needed to step the building back to reduce the massing of the building facing the makai side."
Kyoya has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate its other Sheraton properties.
The new Diamond Head tower would be its crowning achievement but controversy over the city's granting of a variance to Kyoya could stall the project, or stop it.
Plans to build this 26-story tower on the ocean side of Kalakaua Avenue have been applauded and criticized but who are the opponents and what are their objections?