Wedding chapel, parking structure, restaurants planned for Diamond Head side of Kewalo Basin

Published On: Dec 06 2013 05:43:22 PM HST   Updated On: Dec 06 2013 09:20:46 PM HST

Imagine a venue like New York's Blue Note Jazz club where top flight music acts could headline.

And imagine it right off Ala Moana Boulevard on a sliver of park space.

It's an idea being floated by the Hawaii Community Development Authority as it negotiates with various companies.

The plan might also include a wedding chapel, and a parking structure and opportunities for upscale and mid-range dining and  a now- empty charter business storefront could be transformed into an eatery.

"The charter building is going to be a family oriented casual price point, a family-friendly restaurant," said HCDA Director Anthony Ching.

The plans hope to breathe new life into an under utilitzed area.

It may sound good to some, but others bristle at the thought.

"Development of the parks and commercialism of the parks and removing public space and bringing stuff down to the shoreline is a bad idea," said David Graham.

The development plan stands to displace the city lifeguard station considered for the area by the bathrooms.

But a deal has been struck with the city for a shared facility on the other side of the harbor.

One advantage of situating the water rescue station on the far side of the harbor is that it will allow lifeguards better access to the ocean.

"It allows them  to get out quicker, so by mutual agreement we are going to develop a water response team to the county's specifications in our existing harbor masters office and we are looking to do that immediately," said Ching.

There are other ideas being floated for parks in Kakaako Makai -- like a volley ball venue and commercial light show that are raising eyebrows.

But Ching assures there will be opportunity for community input.

"We are going to do an environmental statement on a park master plan we are going to  examine what the impacts are before we enter any permanent or concrete deals," Ching said.

The money he hopes to generate from all these deals will go toward an annual million-dollar tab to maintain park spaces--greenbacks for the upkeep of green spaces.

The HCDA lost some lease revenue when the state gave the Office of Hawaiian Affairs several parcels in Kakaako Makai.

OHA has control over lands on the ewa side of Kewalo and is also looking at ways to generate revenue.



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