Bones of iconic Ward Warehouse poised for second life

KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The work to take down the iconic Ward Warehouse shopping center is underway. It'll soon be replaced by luxury condos.

But here's the good news: Its story won't end there.

When the center was built in 1975, the wooden buildings were only meant to be temporary structures.

Over the years, though, it's been painted and kept free of termites. Much of it can be re-used. And it will be.

"We're looking at being able to salvage about half of all of Ward Warehouse. A lot of it is going to be in the large timbers," said Todd Apo, vice president for community development for The Howard Hughes Corporation.

"Ward Warehouse has been such an important part of our community. We're really being careful with how this process goes."

There are five big buildings in the complex, with about 115,000 square feet of space.

On Tuesday, workers from Re-Use Hawaii went from shop to shop removing doors, fixtures and windows, all of it to be recycled.

Utah-based Layton Construction Company is overseeing the demo for property owner Howard Hughes.

"The wood in the structure has been taken care of. It's been painted, there's not any evidence of big termite infestation or damage," said Tyler Dillon, executive vice president for Layton Construction.

The target is to re-claim about 45,000 feet of lumber from the site.

Quinn Vittum, of Re-Use Hawaii, a non-profit construction material recycling company, says it's more than just wood being that is being re-discovered.

"One of the most treasured pieces so far is a stained glass piece that's hand made and really well done," Vittum said.

And deconstruction and recycling isn't the only new life Ward Warehouse will be seeing in the coming months.

The Honolulu Fire Department and HPD will also be conducting realistic training exercises on the site. And once the buildings on the property come down, Apo said there something else will catch your eye.

"By probably early next year you're going to be able stand on Auahi Street, stand on Queen Street, and look straight out into the ocean," he said.

The demolition of the wooden buildings at Ward Warehouse is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Items are already up for sale at Re-Use Hawaii in Kakaako.

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