2 firms to explore redeveloping International Market Place in Waikiki
By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer
The owner of International Market Place, Queen Emma Land Co., has selected two partners to pursue redeveloping the popular but dated retail bazaar in Waikiki.
Queen Emma Land agreed to work with major shopping center developer Taubman Centers Inc. and real estate finance firm CoastWood Capital Group LLC to explore the feasibility of redeveloping the site and an adjacent site totaling about 4.5 acres in the heart of Waikiki.
The agreement is nonbinding, which allows Taubman and CoastWood to back out for any reason. Taubman said it will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the feasibility of redeveloping the site before moving forward.
"Right now it's very preliminary," said Queen Emma Land spokesman Steve Uyeno.
The tentative partnership comes nearly two years after Queen Emma Land announced it would seek bids from developers to lease and redevelop much of its land in the area. At that time available property included the marketplace, Waikiki Town Center, Perry's Smorgy restaurant, the Food Pantry and the Miramar Hotel.
Taubman's development agreement involves only the marketplace and the connected Waikiki Town Center fronting Kuhio Avenue.
An earlier effort by Queen Emma Land launched in 2003 called for razing and rebuilding the aging retail landmark in a style similar to the original at an estimated cost of $100 million to $150 million. But that plan, which would have been carried out by the landowner, was canceled in 2005 over concerns about risk.
Queen Emma Land is the nonprofit, income-producing affiliate of The Queen's Health Systems, which runs The Queen's Medical Center.
Taubman is a Michigan-based company that develops and manages regional and super-regional shopping centers. The firm owns or leases 26 properties in the United States, including the recently opened luxury retail complex Crystals at CityCenter in Las Vegas.
CoastWood is a San Francisco-based real estate investment firm that has had stakes in several Hawai'i projects, including Maui's largest shopping mall, Queen Ka'ahumanu Center.
International Market Place was developed in 1957 by Paul Trousdale, Clint Murchinson Jr. and Donn E.R.G. Beach on land leased from what was then Queen's Hospital. The complex has roughly 200 tenants.
Queen's acquired the leased-fee interest in 1998 following a dispute over lease rent, and since then has been contemplating redevelopment because of extensive termite damage and growing competition from new or revitalized retail projects, including Waikiki Beach Walk and Royal Hawaiian Center.
Under the development agreement, Taubman would lease the site and be in charge of determining what the Waikiki redevelopment project would involve.
Existing zoning allows the retail properties to be developed up to 260 feet and include retail and residential use. Hotel use would require a zoning change.
In a statement, Taubman said the vision is to revitalize the area with retail and dining opportunities for tourists and residents that will complement the surrounding area while reflecting a Hawaiian sense of place.
"We are honored to have been selected by Queen Emma Land Co. to explore redevelopment of the International Market Place, a retail shopping destination with a long history in Hawai'i," Stephen Kieras, Taubman's senior vice president of development, said in a statement.