The Howard Hughes Corporation envisions a 38-story tower at the old Dixie Grill location on the corner of Ward and Halekauwila streets.
It will dovetail into the city’s plans for rail with a station right across the street.
The Hawaii Community Development Authority has given the green light to a reserve housing tower's 424 units.
The project fulfills a requirement that allows Howard Hughes to build two other high rises elsewhere.
“There has been a significant lack of housing delivered in the last five years. Actually, the lowest levels since World War II. There is a shortage of housing on Oahu . We feel there is significant demand and we can meet the demand with three different price points and three different projects," said Nick Vanderboom, vice-president of development for the Howard Hughes Corporation.
One project is temporarily dubbed the "fishnet tower," and another the "wave tower" in a nod to the area’s history.
The first is on Ala Moana Boulevard and will be set back 50 feet-- even though the minimum requirement is 15 feet.
It takes the space of what's now a parking lot across from Ward Theaters, the first of some four high-rises possible for the entire lot.
The “fishnet tower” calls for 177 luxury units-- which will include a high-rise, townhouses and retail space.
The “wave tower” will be constructed on Auahi and Kamakee streets --home of the current Pier One store.
That project will provide 318 units also a mix of high-rise apartments, townhomes and commercial space.
"We want to create a greenbelt lined with residential townhomes and create a diversity of housing types, not all towers, but townhomes and flats as well, to create a diversity of housing product," said Vanderboom.
Both towers will be about 38 stories high.
These projects represent the first residential towers for Howard Hughes in an area projected to grow by 30,000 people by the year 2030.
The growth is a concern to recreational users.
Friends of Kewalo considers the traffic to be our No. 1 concern because it impacts access to the ocean," said Ron Iwami.
But to others involved with the area's long-range plans, it is the fine tuning of decades of work.
"I think it's just great that it has gone forward with the quality I see," said Richard Lowe, an architect who worked with the Victoria Ward Estate which had a vision for the land now controlled by the Howard Hughes Corporation.
Construction on the projects is expected to begin next year.