New HPU dorm opens at Aloha Tower Marketplace - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New HPU dorm opens at Aloha Tower Marketplace

Classes at Hawaii Pacific University don't officially start until Monday but there's a lot happening on campus.

"We are happy to say we're 100% full," said Vice President of University Relations Sam Moku.

Students moved in to HPU's Waterfront Lofts yesterday but that's not the only change. University officials say they hope to have close to 20 new restaurants in the next six months or so filling up the empty store fronts.

Aloha Tower Marketplace hasn't been the place to be for nearly a decade.  In 2012 officials say 70 percent of the shops were empty. 

Contractors broke ground on Waterfront Lofts just over a year ago.  The renovation cost more than $50 million.

Junior Rosario Kuhl is one of 278 student who calls the university's newest co-ed dormitory home.  She'll be sharing a 2-bedroom apartment with four roommates.

"I was amazed the pictures on the website didn't do it justice. I didn't expect all this space," said Kuhl.

Although the private university will hold classes there.  Campus officials made it clear the ground floor of Aloha Tower Marketplace is open to the public.

"The community spaces that are open are really the corridors here, the area by the former Kapono's place is available for use by the public. We have multi-purpose rooms that are available for community board meetings," said Moku.

HPU officials tell me that they've partnered with the state to negotiate the lease and hope to be here permanently. 

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