Ward plan, version 2: it makes a village - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Ward plan, version 2: it makes a village

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Nick Vanderboom Nick Vanderboom
Hinaleimoana Kalu Hinaleimoana Kalu
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The new owner of Victoria Ward Ltd. has unveiled a revised plan for the development of Ward Centers. Now it's called Ward Village.

"What we really want to do is create a neighborhood, a village, so in the central part of the property would be a substantial open space that would be a gathering place for the community," said Nick Vanderboom, a vice president with The Howard Hughes Corporation.

Victoria Ward Ltd. was acquired in 2002 by General Growth Properties, owner of Ala Moana Center and second largest owner of malls in the United States. In 2010, General Growth spun off its development properties as the Howard Hughes Corporation, which has been rethinking the Ward plan.

The new version keeps a tree-shaded boulevard that extends toward the sea. But it switches to a larger number of high-rises to leave more open space at ground level.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority had approved the original master plan. On Wednesday executives of Hughes Corp. went before the authority to present "version 2."

"We're still working on it and still inviting comments and ideas," Vanderboom said.

Hinaleimoana Kalu, chair of the Oahu Island Burial Council, praised the developers for working with them, "especially in consultation with kupuna in the area."

Others expressed reservations.

"I'm against modifying the original plan," said Jack Hamada, who fears the change in building configuration will get in the way of seeing the water from inland, a key feature of the first version.

Ron Wong of Friends of Kewalo's asked if Ward Ave. would be able to handle increased traffic, and was told the impact of every building will be studied so action can be taken.

No decision was on the table Wednesday and the Hughes executives, some of whom flew in from corporate headquarters in Dallas, said they wanted community input before things get to that stage.