Luxury Kakaako condo project cancelled after slow sales - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Luxury Kakaako condo project cancelled after slow sales

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Stephany Sofos Stephany Sofos
Julie Tumbaga Julie Tumbaga
KAKAAKO (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The developer of a planned luxury condominium has canceled the project because of slow sales.

The Vida project was to be built on 3.4 acres at the corner of Ala Moana Boulevard and Koula Street.

In a statement Friday, development firms Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group said sales for the project would be stopped immediately. The developers began calling buyers Friday morning.

"I got a call this morning, late in the morning, and they told me that they were going to stop the production," said Julie Tumbaga. She was the eighth person in line when sales for units began in May.

There was a good initial surge in sales, but a statement from the developers said that after 40 percent of the units sold, sales had slowed in recent months.

“Despite strong marketing efforts, community outreach and education about the up-and-coming Kakaako community, the market feedback indicated that it was premature to proceed with the Vida project at this time,” the statement said. 

"The problem about developers a lot of times is that they believe their own publicity, and then they get caught and then they lose everything. So what they did was rather smart," said real estate analyst Stephany Sofos.

Deposits will be refunded to all buyers, and they have been released from their contracts.

Tumbaga said she was disappointed, but understood why the decision was made.

"I think it was a difficult decision for them economically, but it was considerate also because, honestly, they could have held our money for as long as they were legally obligated to," she said.

The Vida project was announced in June 2014, with no small amount of fanfare. The developers’ past projects included three sold-out luxury buildings, including Hokua and Capitol Place.

Landowner Kamehameha Schools said it would continue to work with the developers on future projects in Kakaako, where a building boom is underway and more condos are planned.

"Whether it's this year or five years from now, you will see these condos built," said Sofos.

The 39-story Vida tower was to have to 262 units and include a host of amenities, from a children's play area to a dog park to a fitness center.

Prices for two-bedroom units started at $998,000, and three-bedroom units started at $1.6 million.

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