to move operations
Ala Moana has beenBy Rick Daysog
its home since 1964
Driven away by high land values and the redevelopment of the Kakaako waterfront, one of the state's largest car dealerships is moving to Nimitz Highway in Kalihi.
Honolulu Ford, which has operated a new-car dealership at its current Ala Moana site since 1964, acquired a 4-acre parcel on Nimitz Highway across from Waiakamilo Road from Japan-based Dai Showa Co. for $5 million in April.
Dave Chun, president of the 145-employee Honolulu Ford, said he is seeking zoning approval from the Honolulu City Council to build a two-story, $5 million car showroom on the Nimitz property.
If the zoning is approved, Chun said he hopes to consolidate Honolulu Ford's 133,000-square-foot Ala Moana dealership with the company's 80,000-square-foot used car lot on Nimitz and Lagoon Drive.
The new car lot would be among the largest in the state, said Chun, adding that the company hopes to hire additional employees at the site.
Chun said he has been looking for a new location since 1991 when he last renegotiated the Ala Moana dealership's lease rents with landlord Bishop Estate. The estate recently has disclosed plans to build a $50 million entertainment, retail complex at the Honolulu Ford parcel as part of a major redevelopment of its Kakaako holdings.
While the estate has put its retail complex on hold, Chun noted that his company had three years remaining on its 50-year lease with the Bishop Estate.
Chun noted that he would have liked to have remained in the Kakaako area but a similar, 4-acre parcel on Ala Moana would have cost him three times what the company paid for the Nimitz property.
The $5 million purchase price translates into about $33 per-square-foot whereas a property along Ala Moana would have cost about $100 per-square foot, he said.