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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, July 14, 2005

35-story luxury condo tower has early support

By James Gonser
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

A 2.2-acre lot at \'Ena Road and Kalakaua Avenue, now home of Wave Waikiki, could soon be the site of a 280-unit condominium building. The project, which has support of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, needs City Council approval before moving forward.

gregory yamamoto | The Honolulu Advertiser


The conceptual plan for a new 35-story, $225 million residential condominium building at the corner of 'Ena Road and Kalakaua Avenue gained the support of area residents Tuesday when the Waikiki Neighborhood Board voted to support the project.

The 280-unit luxury condo tower called the Puaena is being developed by San Diego architect and property owner Paul Thoryk. Thoryk along with local project consultant Keith Kurahashi gave a presentation to the board on the project.

Board chairman Bob Finley said Thoryk promises to do some beautiful things with the 2.2-acre triangular lot, now home of the popular nightclub Wave Waikiki.

"Overall, I think the project will be very good for Waikiki," said Finley. "The only big question we had was traffic control."

Jack Law, co-owner of Wave Waikiki, said the nightclub has been at the site for almost 25 years and he is resigned to moving. He said he hopes to celebrate one more New Year's Eve there before being told to vacate the premises.

"I think it is very important to have nightlife in Waikiki," Law said. "It is part of the tourist mix. It is one of the main things that makes Waikiki different from the outer island resorts."

Thoryk told the board he is planning water features, green space around the building and improvements to the median strip on Kalakaua Avenue. The only access to the project's parking lot will be from Kalakaua.

"They are going to put in public parking spaces and they have a plan to get the cars on and off of Kalakaua," said Finley. "We are hoping they can work with the city to maybe move the bus stop a little bit."

The project would have a seven-level parking garage with 445 stalls, 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and an 8,000-square-foot restaurant.

Thoryk said he has tried to achieve a Hawaiian sense of place with the design, which includes lush tropical gardens, lagoons and ponds.

"There will be an eight-story waterfall coming off the parking structure so you don't see the cars," he said. "The building is angled to create an open plaza area for shopping."

The project will need City Council approval and he hopes to have the building open in 2007.

Ralph Shumway, resident manager of the 38-story Waipuna condominium on 'Ena Road adjacent to the condo project, said residents support improving the property because the lot has a parking lot and a vacant building that has been a draw for crime, graffiti and noise. But residents do have some concerns about the development plans.

"One concern we have is that it is a very dense project for a very small lot," Shumway said. "A lot of commercial and a lot of residents in a small area.

"The second is ingress and egress with only one driveway. That section of Kalakaua backs up daily because of the bus and everyone coming into Waikiki. That is a serious concern."

Shumway said there are no other empty lots nearby to be used as a staging area for construction and that could also be a problem.

"These are not insurmountable, but they are concerns at this point," he said.