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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Plans for downtown block shelved again

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Development plans are off again for a downtown Honolulu street block owned by Bank of Hawaii, after a Texas development firm could not complete its purchase of the property.

Dallas-based JPI, one of the largest apartment developers in the nation, had planned to build a 28-story luxury rental tower on the nearly 1-acre site at 800 Nu'uanu Ave.

JPI reached a purchase agreement with the bank in March and had anticipated commencing construction of an estimated $75 million building by the end of the year. But the deal fell apart recently, before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, for reasons the company declined to disclose.

Doug Wright, regional development partner for JPI, said the company remains interested in acquiring the property.

"We would still love to do that deal," he said. "We certainly haven't forgotten about it."

Bank of Hawaii, which had previously shelved its own plan to build a high-rise office tower on the site, has kept the property on the market.

A bank spokesman declined to specify whether the site, valued by the city at $10 million, is available or in escrow with another prospective buyer.

Bank of Hawaii purchased the property in 1972 as a newly renovated five-story building. In 1996, the bank said it planned to build an office high-rise, and later turned the property into a 90-space parking lot for employees as an interim measure until the office market improved.

But downsizing at the bank in recent years eliminated the need for more space. Last year, the bank moved to sell the site because banking charters prevent it from developing commercial property in which it would not use significant space.

Reach Andrew Gomes at agomes@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8065.