FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
After 25 years at its Waikiki home, the popular Wave Waikiki nightclub faces the prospect of closing to make way for a condominium development in Waikiki.
Condos planned for
site of Wave Waikiki
Architect Paul Thoryk has bought
a 2.2-acre parcel where he plans
to build 280 luxury residential units
A San Diego architect has bought one of Waikiki's last large land parcels and plans to build a 28-story condominium and retail tower on the site, which includes the popular Wave Waikiki nightclub.
The 2.2-acre triangular lot fronting Kalakaua Avenue, which contains a parking lot, two empty low-rise buildings and the Wave, has been the site of much speculation since it was listed last summer for $17.5 million.
"It seems like everyone that has a project going in Hawaii has contacted me about this property," said Joel LaPinta, the Hilo-based commercial Realtor who marketed the site for Los Angeles-based owner Oaktree Capital Management LLC. "I'm still getting calls."
Redevelopment and renovation projects in Waikiki combined with intense demand for condos in Honolulu and prevailing low interest rates to make the site ideal for a residential developer.
"It's a good location and the site is large enough to do a project with enough size to be economically feasible," LaPinta said.
The property was under contract last fall to be sold to another developer, but plans fell through because the site, which is zoned for residential use, didn't fit the business model, he said.
The buyer, Paul Thoryk has sent tentative plans to the Waikiki Neighborhood Board and is slated to present his concept to the board on July 12. Thoryk could not be reached for comment.
According to Thoryk's prospectus, plans include a 280-unit luxury condominium tower, called the Puaena, which will sit atop a base containing six levels of covered parking, a street-level lobby and an amenities floor, which will include a health spa, day lounge, multimedia theater, cocktail lounge, game room and business/conference center.
Also on the site will be 10,000 square feet of retail space, an 8,000-square-foot restaurant, a tiki village containing small shops and carts, and a tropical zen garden, with waterfalls, koi ponds and pools.
Robert Finley, chairman of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, said he'll be sad to see the Wave, a Waikiki mainstay, go. However, Finley said he welcomes revitalization of the tourist corridor.
"As you drive into Waikiki, one of the first things that you see are abandoned buildings. Replacing them with a beautifully landscaped property would an improvement," Finley said.
In the past, the board has gotten complaints about vagrants and drug users sneaking into the empty buildings on the site, he said.
The project, which is in the development and financing stages, is projected to open in fall 2007.
It's not yet clear when the Wave nightclub will close.
Jack Law, a part-owner of the Wave, said the club, which has spent 25 years on the site, has been on a month-to-month lease for about a year and a half.
"We're one of the last remaining late-night, free-standing nightclubs in Waikiki," Law said.
"I think the Wave is responsible for many babies being born, who are adults now."
The Wave also serves as a haven for artists, who decorate the interior walls every six weeks, he said. Law is nostalgic about the club's long run at its Kalakaua Avenue home, but said he'll attempt to relocate in Waikiki, a prospect that has proven difficult for many other nightclub owners, as leasing costs have risen along with the value of the land.
About seven years ago, Law had to find another location for Hula's Bar & Lei Stand after a developer evicted the establishment from its spot on Kuhio Avenue after 23 years.
"I was holding my butt with both hands when searching for a place for Hula's, but business there now is better than ever," Law said. "If nightclubs can open in Manhattan, we can open one more in Waikiki."