HPU prepares for a big move, which could change the dynamic of Downtown

Published: May. 22, 2019 at 10:18 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state’s largest private university is creating a centralized campus, closer to its dorms at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

The major move now underway by Hawaii Pacific University will change the dynamic in downtown Honolulu.

“It’s really about convenience for the students, about working together for the various faculty and colleges that have been separated at different locations,” explained Cody Down, HPU associate vice president and chief information officer.

The relocation includes operations and academic areas from several downtown buildings as well as the Hawaii Loa campus in Windward Oahu.

HPU’s downtown facilities are scattered among seven buildings in the Fort Street area and along Bishop Street. The school will retain just two of them, primarily working out of Pioneer Plaza.

“We’re still going to have a pretty big presence, HPU will, downtown along Fort Street Mall,” said Down. “We’re just shifting our focus further down toward Aloha Tower.”

Waterfront Plaza, also known as Restaurant Row, is the other destination for those moving. HPU’s College of Health and Society will soon relocate there from the Hawaii Loa campus. A one-stop student services center is also in the works. The university is leasing 100,000 square feet, which could help to revitalize the office and retail complex.

“I think it’s going to breathe a lot of life into that space and potentially there will be opportunities for new businesses to come in,” said Down.

HPU is trying to attract new students from Hawaii and the mainland. Fall enrollment numbers have leveled off recently after a sharp decline from more than 8,339 students in 2010 to 4,086 last year.

Since launching the Holomua Commitment to fulfill 100 percent of unmet tuition need for first-year Hawaii students, HPU says local enrollment for first-year students has gone up from 109 to 170.

“We feel that this move is really going to help with enrollment. It’s going to build a more attractive campus,” said Down.

While many are excited about the change, some eateries along upper Fort Street expect a dip sales without all the students and faculty around. The HPU community accounts for about 10 percent of the business at Doner Shack.

“It’s definitely good for HPU to recruit new students because I think it’s a safer environment down there,” said owner Donald Moriarty. "For us, should make a little bit of a difference. Hopefully, new businesses file in as soon as possible.

The university expects to relocate to most of the new classrooms and offices at Waterfront Plaza and Pioneer Plaza by July 1.

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