WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - With nearly 460 units, the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach, also known as 2121 Kuhio, will go up right behind Kalakaua Avenue's luxury row.
The project's developers say the 37-floor building will be parallel with the ocean, stretching from Diamond Head to Ewa.
Critics argue the layout goes against the Waikiki Special district design guidelines, which say high rises must run mauka to makai. They also think the building will distort an ocean front view.
"Having your view blocked to me is a big deal," said Louis Erteschik, vice chairman of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board. "But if you are going to violate the guidelines and it is going to negatively impact other residents, I think that is a bad situation all around."
The project's developers, PACREP, LLC, addressed claims the tower violates guidelines in a written statement:
"We believe the project complies with the Waikiki Special Design District guidelines. We also have extensively studied the use of the site and feel our proposed design best complements its geometry and constraints."
To reduce impact on blocking others' ocean view, PACREP says it has also altered the design by reducing the tower's width by 48 feet.
Mark Harpenau lives in the Four Paddle condominium located directly across the street and says the alterations aren't enough.
"At least slice off part of the building and make it narrower," Harpenau said. "They could put at least three to four units on both sides of the building and make it narrower. They don't need to put all the units on the ocean side of the building."
The city's Department of Planning and Permitting is expected to make a decision on the proposed layout this week.
If the plan gets the green light, Harpenau is concerned it'll open the doors to more buildings just like it.
"Developers point to previous projects when they are trying to justify their design and they are going to point to this to the DPP," Harpenau said. "Future developers are going to say, 'Well you allowed a wide wall to be built on that property, why can't we do the same thing?'"
A question that could change the face of Waikiki.