HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Pacific University is moving forward with plans to add more dorms and a student dining facility in downtown Honolulu.
Newly-hired President John Gotanda said the waterfront lofts at Aloha Tower Marketplace (ATM) have been in high demand since opening in 2015.
Last year, the school missed out on the opportunity to bring in potential new students, simply because it had no more room to house them.
Currently, there are 270 beds inside 84 single, double and triple-room waterfront lofts at ATM.
HPU will free up some of its administrative offices on the second and third floors to bring in 100 more beds.
"It's not going to take away from any of the designated retail spaces and other student areas on the first floor," said Gotanda.
The university is also looking elsewhere in downtown for space that will provide for 200 additional beds to replace the amount it will be losing once its Hawaii Loa campus in windward Oahu closes out in the coming years.
"I think we're kind of spoiled here because the dorms are so much nicer than other schools I've seen," said HPU student Vanessa Morrison. "It's a great proximity to a lot of restaurants and things to do."
It's all part of Aloha Tower's $55 million renovation project.
Since opening in 2015, new tenants have moved in including Crossfit Downtown Honolulu, Palama Market and Nashville Waikiki.
The Old Spaghetti Factory is set to open early 2018.
"When all is said and done, with just these alone, we are really looking at about 90 percent of the retail space to being occupied," said Gotanda.
Another big project in the making is a new student dining facility.
"It has been at the top of my priority list and we have identified a site to do this at and hopefully have it opening by end of this year or early next year," Gotanda said.
After seeing enrollment drop by nearly 43 percent over the last five years, Gotanda is optimistic HPU's reenergized plans will help increase academic presence and opportunity in downtown Honolulu.
"I think it will make HPU one of the most attractive places to come to school in the country," he said.
The university hopes to have the 100 additional beds put in at Aloha Tower by this summer.