Alexander & Baldwin makes a move on Kaka'ako

Published On: Apr 10 2013 12:56:16 PM HST

Open less than six months, Taste hopes a steady lunch crowd means betting on Kaka'ako is paying off.

"You have Downtown, Waikiki, Kaimuki is building up, so we want to build up Kaka'ako," said Taste manager Adam Lock.

"Believe me -- it's going to be a transformation!" said Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

On Tuesday, Alexander & Baldwin unveiled plans to plunk down $200 million to turn the old CompUSA into "The Collection" with townhomes, a 4-story mid-rise, and a 43-story high-rise including condos, retail and restaurants.  Sales are scheduled to start this summer.

"Today for us is a very important step in the advancement of this neighborhood in Kaka'ako," said President and COO of Alexander & Baldwin Chris Benjamin.

The 680 Ala Moana building was the first to be completed in the Kaka'ako master plan.  Developers say the 54 studios and 1-bedroom lofts were snatched up within weeks.

"One of the reasons I ran for office is to say if we're going to stop urban sprawl, we need to have urban density in the urban core," said Abercrombie.

It's all part of a 9-block, 29-acre community called "Our Kaka'ako."  Landowner Kamehameha Schools is looking for businesses in it for the long haul.

"We have other new tenants, such as R&B, Piko and Taste that were born in Kaka'ako and we expect will continue their life here as well," said Kamehameha Schools Director of Real Estate Development Paul Kay.

The state requires developers reserve 20 percent for low or moderate incomes -- a draw for young adults looking to stay in town.

"There's a lot of pretty hipster stuff going on," said 680 Ala Moana resident Ikaika Arakaki.  "Night Market.  Hank's Haute Dogs.  The Whole Ox.  So lots of stuff to do, lots of stuff to eat."

The Collection, about a year away from construction, still needs approval from the state, tempting those already here to stay put.

"It's a fun community and as long as we can keep building it, it will get better," said Lock.


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