It's time to move out for most tenants left at Aloha Tower Marketplace

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Feb 08 2014 08:17:39 PM HST
Updated On: Feb 08 2014 08:51:05 PM HST

Kaka'ako residents share their concerns about the Hawaii Community Development Authority at Saturday's State Capitol hearing.

HONOLULU -

Time to move out.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's story.

That's the notice 17 tenants at Aloha Tower Marketplace received on Friday. Hawaii Pacific University is taking over the oceanfront property and said tenants saw this coming, but some store owners said they were still caught off guard.

A "ghost town," that's how many describe Aloha Tower Marketplace these days. Once bustling with 38 shops, now most of the remaining tenants received a notice telling them to pack up and move out by March 17 to make way for HPU.  

"We weren't expecting the notice so quickly. We just got the notice recently and we saw it on the news as well, so we are kind of surprised," said Dee Yajima with Platinum Limousine.

Yajima now has to look for another office space and a place that will park their more than 35 limousines. Like another tenant, he said 40 days isn't enough notice to move the business.

But a spokesperson for HPU says tenants were aware of the coming changes.

"The tenants who we noticed yesterday were on month-to-month leases that required 30-day notices. We were glad to be able to give them a little more than that," said Todd Simmons a spokesperson for HPU.

Brian Matsudo, who just recently moved his Elite Massage Academy from Aloha Tower Marketplace to Ward Warehouse said since the beginning of last year he knew it was time to go.

"I thought it was pretty clear that tenants weren't exactly welcome there, once they said they would only negotiate month-to-month leases," said Matsudo.

HPU is still going through state permitting. But hope to have classrooms and restaurants fill empty spaces by 2015.

HPU said the second floor is its top priority when construction begins. The floor will be turned into the dorm section of the campus.

"We are now at that point where we need to close the businesses that are there so we can complete the necessary renovations for the completely renovated property," said Simmons.

Upgrades around the property will cost up to $35 million.  

Four tenants will remain through the redevelopment: TheCab, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Hooters and The Star of Honolulu.

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