Growing pains for Hawaii Pacific University

Published On: Oct 09 2013 05:22:00 PM HST

The Aloha Tower Marketplace is public land with a long list of failed development plans attached to it.

Now enter Hawaii Pacific University, under a messy parting with developer Ed Buchor, who initially secured rights to take over the marketplace.

Click here to see Catherine Cruz's report.

"We are in this for the long haul. We are not trying to do some flash-in-the-pan with a lot of fireworks and glitz that we would start and back out of five years later. We are in this for the decades," said Hawaii Pacific University’s Todd Simmons.

To businessman Bob Endreson, it's a case of pitch and switch.

He had plans for a nightclub and concert venue at the marketplace.

HPU nixed the idea this summer and now Enderson wonders how a non-profit plans to generate revenues to pencil out for taxpayers.

"You don't give away prime waterfront property -- and that’s what the Hawaii Supreme Court and the Legislature call it -- prime water front lands. It's not me it's the taxpayers who are losing out on the general excist tax," said Endreson.

Endreson questions why HPU is using more downstairs space that the school maintained would be filled with restaurants and retail space.

"They had 90 percent of it leased out with people investing millions of dollars and they cancelled. It wasn't like they had a problem finding tenants. They got rid of all of the tenants," Endreson said.

HPU said leasing out the downstairs is still part of the long-term plan.

But the school has  had to scrap plans for a basketball and volleyball arena at pier 10.

Not really doable -- sharing space with an active cruise ship industry which uses it as an overflow pier.

"We couldn't really outfit it to meet NCAA regulations and specifications. So we are reassessing it. The plan now is for it to be meeting spaces, performance, lecture spaces, special events would be held there," said Simmons.

There are still questions about turning Bishop Museum's old maritime center into a faculty club, and how that might generate revenue.

HPU says there are absolutely no plans for a hotel at that site.

 At one time developer Ed Buchor had talked about building a high-rise condo at the site which is now a parking lot on the other side of the maritime center according to state harbors Deputy Director Randy Grune.

That parcel is not under HPU control, and there is no plan before the Aloha Tower Development Corporation to develop it.


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