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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 30, 2002

General Growth's plan due in 2003

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

A vision on how to continue creating an urban village on Victoria Ward Ltd.'s Kaka'ako estate should be in place in six to 11 months, the president of Victoria Ward's recent purchaser, General Growth Properties Inc., said yesterday.

The emerging mix of street-front retail, residential, office and warehouse properties has been under review since Chicago-based General Growth bought Victoria Ward in May for $250 million.

Yesterday, the president of General Growth Properties, Bob Michaels, told stock analysts in a conference call that the company probably would have a plan in place sometime in the second or third quarter of next year.

"We continue to look at our options," he said. "We've got a lot of options there."

Michaels did not discuss specifics, and was traveling and unavailable for further comment yesterday. Also traveling, and unavailable after the conference call, was General Growth's chief executive officer, John Bucksbaum.

Bucksbaum said in an interview last month that Victoria Ward's previous plan to replace Ward Warehouse with a 550,000-square-foot mall anchored by a full-line Nordstrom department store wouldn't go forward because it was designed to compete with Ala Moana Center, which General Growth also owns.

But he also said that pieces of the Ward Warehouse project could become part of General Growth's plan.

Nordstrom spokeswoman Deniz Anders said yesterday that the retailer has not decided how to establish a full-line department store in Hawai'i, but that "all options" still are being discussed with General Growth.

Heading up planning efforts at Victoria Ward is 30-year General Growth veteran Jon Batesole, a retired executive vice president of real estate development for the company. He is scheduled to arrive in Hawai'i next month and spend most of his time here.

Previously envisioned elements of Victoria Ward's urban village included closing Auahi Street to vehicle traffic and adding as many as six residential high-rises, a supermarket, and more retail, parking and water features among existing retail and entertainment complexes.

Most recently, a local development partnership announced it was moving ahead with plans to buy a Victoria Ward parcel at the diamondhead end of Auahi to build a luxury high-rise condominium next year.

During yesterday's conference call, Bucksbaum said some of what General Growth decides to do with Victoria Ward will depend on redevelopment plans of other Kaka'ako landowners, such as Kamehameha Schools and the state.

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