Stores get final notice: Ward Warehouse to be demolished in August

Stores get final notice: Ward Warehouse to be demolished in August
Published: Feb. 10, 2017 at 3:15 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2017 at 9:26 AM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Novel T World has leased a 725-square-foot space at Ward Warehouse for 34 years.

Owner Stephanie Ching says it's been a good run.

"Lots of memories. Lots of great customers who have been very loyal. We have been blessed to have that," she said.

After 42 years as a community gathering place, Ward Warehouse will close in August to make way for new luxury condos.

Developer Howard Hughes Corp. is moving forward with plans to demolish and redevelop the area to make way for a luxury high rise. Some 260 apartments in two towers are projected for the property. Prices for units will range from $1.5 million to more than $20 million.

Ward Warehouse building tenants received notice this week that they'd have to be out by Aug. 6, but they knew for months about the planned demolition.

A few doors down from Novel T World, RIX Island Wear is alerting customers about the planned closure.

"We are telling them that this store is closing and we do have Ala Moana open, about five minutes away. We are trying to get them to go to that store," supervisor Kelii Napolean said.

Ward Warehouse was built in 1975. It was only supposed to be around for 15 years; it's been 42.

Several stores have chosen to close up shop, while others have relocated within Ward Village.

"We are continuing to build what Ward has always been -- a place with great residences now and always a place for local businesses to do entertaining, dining and shopping," Ward Village Sr. General manager Bobbie Lau said.

Some storefronts are already empty.

"It's sad In a way, but it's progress. It is aging. The trend seems to be more upscale more modern," customer Dennis Murphy said.

"It's little unique shops, besides Ala Moana Shopping Center and Pearl Ridge, you get to visit these little shops that are more personalized," shopper Christina Fau said.

Howard Hughes is helping with relocation by offering space at other sites. It's also trying to keep Ward Warehouse vibrant for the final six months.

"In a retail setting we need everybody to be open and have the lights on," Lau said. "We are encouraging people to stay and working with them to do that."

Next month, Novel T World celebrates its 34th anniversary at Ward Warehouse. After it shutters its shop, the company will stay in business but not in a brick and mortar store.

"We're going to try online and do some pop-up events if there is a product show or craft fair. We can bring the t-shirts to still see our customers because I am really going to miss them," Ching said.

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