Outrigger’s Waikiki Project OK’d

City Council approves redevelopment concept; groundbreaking set for April 2004

By: Michele Kayal

HONOLULU Outrigger Enterprises cleared a major hurdle in its $300 million plan to transform Waikiki’s Lewers Street corridor when the City Council approved the redevelopment concept on Nov. 23.

The council gave Outrigger permission to demolish six hotels, renovate five, erect a new 890-room hotel and create new entertainment, retail and pedestrian space in the heart of Waikiki.

The project, designed to cover 7.7 acres, is one of the most ambitious in the urban resort’s history.

Outrigger now can begin applying for technical and building permits.

“This was the last time we had to go through ‘This is why this is good,’” said Melvin Kaneshige, Outrigger’s chief operating officer.

Kaneshige said he expects the company to break ground in April 2004 on the retail and entertainment complex, the first portion of the project. That phase, estimated at $130 million, should be completed by late 2005, he said.

The new, 27-story tower is estimated to cost $170 million and to take three years to complete. But starting work on it will depend on the financial markets, Kaneshige said.

“It’s difficult to convince a lender today to borrow money to build a new tower,” he said. “We’re going to have to wait on that one until the market gets a little better.”

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