HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state today approved a long-term lease agreement with Howard Hughes Corp. to operate the Kewalo Basin Harbor.
In the deal, Howard Hughes will invest about $20 million in upgrades at the 22-acre harbor and will pay about $14 million in lease rents for the first 30 years of the lease.
Dallas-based Howard Hughes is the developer of the Ward Centers retail and condominium complex across the street from the harbor.
"We're really excited to finally make some improvements to this harbor. It's been in needed for more than 20 years," said David Striph, senior vice president for Hawaii at Howard Hughes.
Tenants echoed those sentiments.
"We'd like to see the harbor become a focal point for tourism and local people to come here," said Greg Longnecker, owner of Extreme Parasail.
The lease, which was approved by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, runs for 35 years. But it includes a 10-year option.
Critics say the deal lacks transparency.
"The community is actually blinded. The negotiations are only between the HCDA and the private entity," said Wayne Takamine, chairman of Kakaako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council.