Tuesday, July 10, 2001

From atop the Ohana Waikiki Tower, David Carey,
president and CEO of Outrigger Enterprises, looks over
the chain's Lewers Street properties.

Outrigger’s vision

The hotel firm outlines its
massive $300 million
project for Waikiki

By Russ Lynch

A portion of central Waikiki area that has become old and crowded may be on its way to a new life, due to government pressure to improve the area and the vision of the dominant hotel company in the area, Outrigger Enterprises Inc.

Outrigger's $300 million development plan for the Lewers Street area -- demolishing six low- to mid-rise hotels and replacing them with a single sky-reaching tower, expanses of open space and an old-Waikiki-themed complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment -- won quick approval from officials when it was announced yesterday.

The nearly eight acres on both sides of the makai portion of Lewers Street stretching through to Beach Walk and Saratoga Avenue is "the site in Waikiki that needs to be developed," Mayor Jeremy Harris said at an Outrigger news conference yesterday.

Citing the city's recent improvements to Kuhio Beach, Kapiolani Park and Waikiki in general, Harris said Outrigger's announcement makes 2001 "the year that Waikiki truly was revitalized."

"It is all coming together, the private sector, the public sector," Harris said.

Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association, called it a "super project for Waikiki. It fits right into everything we're doing for Waikiki."

Sam Bren, chairman of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, also welcomed the project.

"They gave me a preview showing of it about a month ago, knowing that the neighborhood board will have to be involved for years to come," Bren said. "It's the most elevating development Waikiki could possibly get."


A shopping complex would replace the Ohana Edgewater, top, and
Edgewater Lanais and Ohana Coral Seas on Lewers, bottom.
Art Art
Art Art
Source: Outrigger

One reason for the redevelopment, said David Carey, president and chief executive officer of Outrigger Enterprises, is to demolish aging properties in which hugely expensive renovations still would not attract the more affluent guests who would pay enough to cover the cost of financing the improvements. That needs to be followed by changes to bring new business in the area, he said.

Outrigger is calling its multiyear plan the Waikiki Beach Walk project because it will attract both local and tourist pedestrians, Carey said.

The company plans to build a two-level retail and entertainment complex of about 75,000 square feet in the area now occupied by three old hotels.

They are the first major hotels in Waikiki opened by Outrigger founders Roy and Estelle Kelley in 1951 and are now called the Ohana Edgewater, the Edgewater Lanais and the Ohana Coral Seas, all in the area between Lewers Street and Beach Walk on the makai side of Kalakaua Avenue.

The Outrigger Islander Waikiki, at the Kalakaua end of Lewers, will remain, as will the Ohana Waikiki Village on Beach Walk and the Ohana Waikiki Tower at Lewers and Kalia Road.

In the middle will be the new entertainment and shopping complex, with wide setbacks from the street, old-Hawaii water effects, tropical foliage and designs reminiscent of the pre-crowding International Market Place and the Queen's Surf in Kapiolani Park.

That project should have tourist pedestrians turning into Lewers from Kalakaua and mixing with local residents who now have no real place to gather in Waikiki, Carey said.

"We wanted to transform Lewers Street into a destination instead of just a road that gets you somewhere," said Mel Kaneshige, senior vice president of Outrigger Enterprises and the executive in charge of the company's property development.

Rocky Lynch hands out time-share flyers to tourists along
Lewers. Across the street are the Edgewater Lanais, due to
be demolished. The Outrigger Islander Waikiki,
fronting Kalakaua, will remain.

Carey and Kaneshige said the plan calls for diverting a lot of traffic from Lewers. Carey said he hopes that Lewers could be closed to traffic some of the time, but that it likely will be needed to get traffic into and out of the area.

Phase 2 calls for demolishing three hotels across Saratoga from Fort DeRussy -- the Ohana Reef Lanai, the Ohana Royal Islander and the Malihini Hotel -- and building a single high-rise, probably an upscale hotel, Carey said.

In their day the Edgewater and the other mid-rise hotels developed by the Kelleys were among the best in Waikiki, with unobstructed views, Carey said. They have since been surrounded, their views blocked, and the way to get views now is to go to a new, unobstructed location and take a hotel above the street and into the sky, with lots of surrounding open space.

All of the changes are subject to state and city environment and planning approvals, Outrigger officials said.


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