HPU gets green light for Aloha Tower

HPU gets green light for Aloha Tower

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Pacific University can move forward with its plans to turn the Aloha Tower Marketplace into a student dormitory, sports area and entertainment venue.

"Today is a big day," said Todd Simmons, Vice President of Marketing & Communications with HPU.

According to Simmons, the Aloha Tower Development Corp., officially recognized HPU as both the owner and manager of the Aloha Tower Marketplace property.

"Today's action is critical to the forward progress of all of our other planning, the sale of our bond issue for financing for a lot of what we want to do at Aloha Tower," said Simmons, before adding--  "It's the lynchpin in an early part of the process to allow all of that planning, all of the financial pieces to come together on this. It was critical for us."

The state agency's decision comes despite ongoing arbitration between HPU and a former development partner, Ed Bushor. Bushor, the founder of eRealty Fund, was bought out of his 20% minority interest by HPU last fall, and then removed from his position as project manager. Bushor has objected to both, and the dispute is in arbitration.

"The things that we resolved today with ATDC have no bearing on that process," said Simmons, adding that although arbitration is ongoing-- "the only hold-up is monetary compensation," and both parties are working on a settlement.  

Bushor's attorney, Michael Green, adamantly disagrees.

"I can only tell you, this fight has just begun," said Green. "They [ATDC] should've stayed on the side until arbitration was done," added Green, who couldn't go into detail about the ongoing litigation because of a confidentiality agreement. Nearly 200 pages were presented to the ATDC last week Friday, outlining Bushor's allegations of fraud. Green said he believed it was enough information to encourage the ATDC to preserve the status-quo and wait to make an official decision on ownership until both parties were out of arbitration.

"If we're right, HPU has no business being at Aloha Tower," said Green, before adding -- "We hope they have a lot of money, because we're suing them for a lot of money."

If all goes according to HPU's timetable, Simmons says the demolition and renovation process will hopefully begin at the Aloha Tower Marketplace this summer. They plan to have the initial phase of the "living learning center", as its being called, complete by next summer, and fully leased by the 2014-2015 academic school year.

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