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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 30, 2010

John Dominis open until Nov. 30

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The John Dominis restaurant in Kaka'ako will keep operating until Nov. 30. But the Japan-based investor's plans still call for the building to eventually be torn down and a new one built a bit farther back from the water's edge.

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Honolulu waterfront seafood restaurant John Dominis has been given a reprieve from what had been set to be its final day of business today, and will keep operating until Nov. 30.

A Japan-based investor that bought the restaurant in late 2007 anticipated demolishing the building overhanging Kewalo Basin in Kaka'ako and developing a new complex with a wedding facility and restaurant set back from the shoreline.

But permit delays presented John Dominis operator D.G. "Andy" Anderson with an offer to continue the 31-year-old restaurant a bit longer.

"She just doesn't want to die I think," Anderson said of the restaurant he established in 1979 on land leased from the state in an industrial area with a fantastic view of Diamond Head.

It is the second time Anderson's operation of John Dominis has been extended since he sold the property to Ocean Investments LLC. A one-year extension was agreed upon in early 2009.

Escalating ground rent and the need for improvements to the salt-ravaged building led Anderson to sell his interest to Ocean Investments. Anderson also said the fine-dining restaurant with 254 seats had become too big for today's market.

Ocean Investments in January received approval from the state to amend terms of the ground lease to allow redeveloping of the site. The lease runs until 2042.

The Hawai'i Community Development Authority, the state agency governing development in Kaka'ako, said plans call for setting the new building back 30 to 40 feet from the water's edge to accommodate a potential future public pedestrian promenade.

Ocean Investments also agreed to pay the state potentially more rent by adding a percentage of its revenue to normal base rent under certain conditions.