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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 27, 2003

Honolulu Ford to build new dealership

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

After years of trying to find a new home, Honolulu Ford has leased a 5-acre property to reconsolidate its new and used-car dealerships in a planned $8 million to $9 million showroom.

The company recently signed a lease for the Kamehameha Schools-owned property at Houghtailing and King streets, and is applying for permits to build the new dealership over the next 15 to 18 months, said Honolulu Ford President Dave Chun.

The move will free up Honolulu Ford's new-car dealership on three acres at 777 Ala Moana for a high-tech office complex that landowner Kamehameha Schools plans to develop as a complement to the University of Hawai'i medical school and cancer research center under construction.

A Kamehameha Schools spokesman could not be reached yesterday for an update on its Kaka'ako office development, a $100 million, multi-phase project.

Chun said the Ala Moana lease with Kamehameha Schools allows the dealership to remain until Feb. 5, 2005.

Honolulu Ford has operated along Ala Moana in Kaka'ako since 1964, though it was forced to move its used-car dealership about 10 years ago to make way for the mauka extension of Kaka'ako Waterfront Park.

Chun said the used-car dealership now at Nimitz Highway and Lagoon Drive near the airport will be reunited with the new-car dealership.

"It's kind of exciting," he said. "There have been no new car dealerships built in a while here for 'blue-collar' cars."

In recent years, luxury car dealers have built new showrooms primarily along Kapi'olani Boulevard, leaving concentrations of middle-market auto dealerships along Ala Moana in Kaka'ako and Nimitz near the airport.

Chun had bought a 4-acre property in Kalihi Kai on which to build a consolidated Honolulu Ford dealership, but the state last year condemned the property to secure expansion space for interisland shipping firm Young Brothers Ltd.

Chun said that he received a fair price for the property, which was bought in 1999 for $5 million, and that he is happy to finally have a long-term property to complete his relocation plan.