SOPHISTICATED AND REWARDING
Beachside luxury hotel proposed for Waikiki
By Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Greg Wiles
The first new hotel to be built beachside in Waikiki in more than 20 years is being planned by Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts LP as it looks to redevelop the nonhistoric parts of the Moana Surfrider hotel.
The hotel owner yesterday said it is going to seek approvals to demolish an eight-story annex to the Moana and in its place build a 24-story luxury hotel that would include 200 hotel rooms and 25 condominiums, along with an upscale restaurant. The annex sits on the diamondhead side of the historic Moana between it and the Honolulu Police Department substation at Kuhio Beach.
It would be the first new hotel beside the beach in Waikiki since the Halekulani opened in the mid-1980s.
The plans are part of a $1 billion revitalization and redevelopment plan of Kyo-ya's Waikiki hotels and follows a string of projects aimed at renewing and upgrading the busy tourist area. Planners and landowners have wanted to upgrade the resort to make it more comfortable, sophisticated and rewarding for visitors as Waikiki faces competition from other destinations.
In recent years, Outrigger Enterprises Group developed the Waikiki Beach Walk, while Kamehameha Schools has renovated the Royal Hawaiian Center. Also in Waikiki, the Trump Tower is under construction.
"Kyo-ya has been in Waikiki for over 40 years and we certainly have a long-term view of it as a visitor destination," said Greg Dickhens, Kyo-ya executive vice president.
"We think it's very important to bring new energy and vibrancy to Waikiki."
Kyo-ya already has started moving on renovation plans at The Royal Hawaiian and Sheraton Waikiki hotels and is lobbying to get approvals for rock groins so that more sand would gather at beaches fronting the hotels.
Yesterday, it said it has plans for the new luxury property, along with a redevelopment of the Princess Kaiulani hotel across from the Moana on Kalakaua Avenue.
Those plans call for a repositioning of the six-decade-old hotel, which resides on about four acres and includes three towers, a retail complex and a parking structure.
All but one of the towers would be demolished under its plans as Kyo-ya tries to reposition the property for more meetings and convention business along with offering more retailing.
Dickhens said the company will keep the tallest tower on the property that contains 660 units. These will be renovated and upgraded, while a new tower will take the place of two 12-story buildings that contain 500 hotel rooms. The new 33-story Pikake tower would contain 200 hotel-condominium units and 66 residential units.
The hotel portion of the redeveloped property would contain significantly more meeting space, with current plans calling for a ballroom of up to 10,000 square feet and another 4,000 to 5,000 square feet of meeting rooms.
Instead of 20,000 square feet of retail space currently, the project would feature a two-story retail complex set back from Kalakaua with about 65,000 square feet of shop space.
"There's no question it's a property that could benefit tremendously by this redevelopment," said Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association.
He said hotel owners are looking for ways to address market changes and make moves that will get them a better return on their investment along with helping the rest of the community.
"It's all in keeping with the strategic plan developed by the state and the visitor industry over the last five years," he said.
Dickhens said Kyo-ya, a subsidiary of Japan-based Kokusai Kogyo Co., will issue an Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice in the next several months. He said it is possible plans for the projects will change during the permit process.
Dickhens said the EIS and other government approvals are estimated to take up to 18 months for the Princess Kaiulani and two years for the Moana redevelopment.
Thereafter, it would take three years to build each of the projects. During that time, several hundred workers from the Kaiulani and Moana would be sidelined.
Dickhens said it is possible these employees could find jobs with other Kyo-ya hotels during that time, and the company is working with worker unions to determine how to lessen the impact on employees.
Reach Greg Wiles at firstname.lastname@example.org.