Planned makeover of Ala Moana neighborhood spurring debate - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Planned makeover of Ala Moana neighborhood spurring debate

(Image: Manaolana Place) (Image: Manaolana Place)
(Image: Manaolana Place) (Image: Manaolana Place)
(Image: Manaolana Place) (Image: Manaolana Place)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Developers say a luxury highrise planned for the block across from the Hawaii Convention Center will revitalize the neighborhood.

"The place that we're building is a place that today is occupied by drug dealers, massage parlors and strip clubs. We're cleaning it up and we're happy to do that," said James Ratkovich, of Manaolana Partners.

The proposed building will wipe out a 7-Eleven on Kapiolani Boulevard and Atkinson Drive and Orchid Relaxation on Kona Street. It will stop right before Club Femme Nu.

The 234-unit Manaolana Place Hotel and Residential Condominium Development will also displace an eyeglass shop, a tobacco store, and other establishments.

Daniel Axelrod, who works for Tobaccos of Hawaii, isn't a fan of the project.

"It’s dirty deals done at a cheap price,” he said. “They're gonna tear all these areas down and you're not gonna have local businesses and what not, especially us. We've been here for 20 years."

Axelrod said the store will stay at the Atkinson location until the end.

Although they have a new location on Beretania Street, he said sales will drop dramatically.

"It'll definitely affect our business. We have a lot of foot traffic here, especially because we're close to Waikiki. But over there on Beretania, we're close to nothing on a one-way street," he said.

The luxury highrise is poised to be the first built under the city's new transit oriented development permitting process, which allows taller buildings with less parking and less open space.

The city's vision could push out strip joints and other businesses that cater to the adult entertainment industry.

And that's being welcomed by residents.

"I'm sure it would curb it in this area, it may push it probably to somewhere else. But it would definitely have a positive impact for this area for sure," Ala Moana neighborhood board member John Horvath said.

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