Developers Hoping to Revitalize Ward Neighborhood - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Developers Hoping to Revitalize Ward Neighborhood

Jan Yokota Jan Yokota
Tom D'Alesandro Tom D'Alesandro

By Marvin Buenconsejo

KAAKAKO (KHNL) --  The company that owns the Ward Shopping Complex is renewing its efforts to revitalize the area around the popular Kaakako Centers.

The series of familiar, yet mis-matched shops and restaurants, will eventually give way to a large central meeting plaza and high-rises that will be mix of offices and family dwellings.

A great central meeting area, reminicent of Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Corridors, with sight lines, to enjoy an ocean view and re-engineered Auahi Street, to link it all together.

This is the vision for the 60-acre "Ward Neighborhood."

''Honolulu doesn't really have strong gathering places," said Jan Yokota with General Growth Properties.  "There were places like that before.  But, if you can imagine, we can have performances there or you can have a children's park and people could sit around that area, it would be much more of a gathering place than we currently have."

The initial planning began about three years ago, carrying a price tag of about a $100 million for the re-development.

Although leading developer -- General Growth Properties -- shyed away from naming a new price, the company says Urban Honolulu will see a major economic infusion.

"When you talking about something that's going to take place over time, this much I know, when you create the platform of the central plaza and when we create the platform of a pedestrian friendly Auahi Street, we will be creating value," said Tom D'Alesandro with General Growth Properties.

Plans even take into account intergrating a rail system.

The Ward Neighborhood will grow gradually.

It'll be 20, maybe 30 years in the making but, when it is completed, the developer says it'll be thing of wonder.

''What we think is exciting is the opportunity to refresh and augment the retail shopping and entertainment options and to really animate and reinvent Ward Neighborhood as place for people to live, work and play."

More detailed plans will be released in April.

General Growth Properties has similar types of large-scale, multi-level projects in Las Vegas, Maryland, and Texas.

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