STAR-BULLETIN / JANUARY 2005
The NCR Building on Kapiolani Boulevard is being eyed for conversion into 47 residential units after being sold last year for $6 million.
47 units planned for NCR Building
A developer aims to turn the old commercial property into residences
In a departure from the new high-rise residential towers sprouting in Kakaako and Ala Moana, a local developer plans to convert a decades-old commercial building on Kapiolani Boulevard into 47 residential units ranging from 640 to 1,400 square feet each.
Cooke Clayton LLC is positioning the project as something unique amidst the boom of new construction. Occupying a 1970s-era building and its original wing built in 1947, the new residences will have 11.5-foot ceilings and a distinctly urban feel, said Duff Janus, project manager for the development at 720 Kapiolani Blvd.
Cooke Clayton has not decided whether to fashion the units as open lofts or to partition the spaces with walls into more traditional condominiums, Janus said. In either case, the company wants to make the most of the building's unique qualities while responding to the market.
"We're going to make a building that's as unique as its buyers," Janus said.
According to preliminary plans filed with the state, the building's first floor will contain 7,344 square feet of retail space and parking spaces. A second floor will contain more parking spaces and some residential units. And the third through fifth floors will be dedicated to residential space. Recreation areas will be located on the roof.
Prices have not been determined, but Janus said that Cooke Clayton wants "to give the most bang for the buck."
Called the NCR Building, the main property was built to house heavy computing machines manufactured by NCR Corp., an Ohio-based company that began making mechanical cash registers and morphed into an information technology company. The concrete building represents something unusual in Honolulu's cityscape of mostly newer buildings: a structure strong enough to be converted into the kinds of loft spaces more common in older mainland cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
The initial reaction from neighborhood leaders has been positive.
"It will be refreshing to see," said John Breinich, chairman of the Kakaako/Ala Moana Neighborhood Board. "Most of the time we see a whole block torn down and something new built."
Breinich said the developer is scheduled to make a formal presentation at the board's next meeting May 23.
Clayton Cooke bought the building for about $6 million in early 2005 from the nonprofit labor organization Unity House Inc. Unity House had bought the property for $5 million in 1998 from a unit of NCR Corp., which had paid $15.5 million for it in 1991.