The Waikiki Business Improvement District Association began looking for contractors last week for the areas street cleaning and security efforts, as the new business district heads toward a March 1 planned launch.
"It begins on March 1, so you probably wont see a lot of difference on March 1," said Fred Orr, a vice chairman of the association and managing director of the Princess Kaiulani and the Sheraton Moana Surfrider hotels. "But thats the embarcation. We expect to have the contractors on board and the services to start."
Requests for proposals went out on each of the two areas the district hopes to address: Street cleaning and landscaping, and security and hospitality.
"Weve designed some very comprehensive standards," Orr said. "For example, were going to be making sure there isnt even gum on the sidewalks. We want to have a sparkling clean city for our visitors. And thats exactly how weve designed the (request for proposals)."
"Were expecting our security to not only be security officers, but to also be ambassadors of aloha. We want the personnel that are our contractors to also contribute to the visitor experience."
In a Business Improvement District, landowners and merchants are assessed a fee that is used to pay for services beyond what the government provides. The extra services are intended to beautify the area and give visitors a greater sense of comfort there, making it more attractive to both tourists and residents.
Such designated business districts have been used in the downtown areas of cities including Portland, Ore., and New York, where it has transformed the once squalid Times Square.
The Waikiki BID Association was created late last year to oversee and manage the districts activities.
Eric Masutomi, director of planning for Outrigger Enterprises Inc., is the associations chairman. Masutomi led the BID initiative for the Waikiki Improvement Association and has extensive background in land use planning and development.
In addition to Orr, vice chairs include: Mona Abadir, chief operating officer, Honu Group Inc.; Gary Hahn, vice president and chief operating officer of Louis Vuitton Hawaii; Peter Schall, vice president/managing director, Hilton Hawaiian Village; and Charlian Wright, corporate marketing director, Pauahi Management Corp.
The association treasurer is Michael Walsh, vice president and treasurer of the Queen Emma Foundation.