COURTESY FIFIELD COS.
Developers of the Allure Waikiki , a planned condo tower offering 300 units, adjusted building plans to work around two native Hawaiian burial sets found on the 2.2-acre site. Above, a rendering of a pool at the condo, which will be completed in late 2009. CLICK FOR LARGE
Waikiki condo redesigns for remains
The developers of the Allure Waikiki sought input on preserving two iwi burial sites
What once was the Wave Waikiki, a fallow field and a bunch of dilapidated walkup apartments, will soon be home to Allure Waikiki, a 35-story luxury condominium.
But when two sets of iwi, or native Hawaiian burials, were discovered at the 2.2-acre development site for the upscale condo, what could have become a hurdle became a lesson in history -- and a slight redesign.
Chicago-based Fifield Cos. plans a condo tower offering 300 one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with an infinity-edged pool, outdoor spa and fitness center.
The units are priced at between $750,000 and $1.75 million.
Last summer, while preparing its archeological report, Fifield discovered two iwi at opposite ends of the construction site.
They went to the Oahu Island Burial Council, which approved a burial treatment plan, and will preserve both in place.
Paulette Kaleikini, whose family once lived at the site, said she was pleased with how the developer dealt with the iwi early on in the design process.
"We're satisfied," said Kaleikini, who visited the site several times with the development team. "They went ahead and redesigned the project to accommodate the kupuna. They're the first developer I know of that did something like that."
She said it could be a good lesson for future developers.
"Things can go smooth for them if they do the right thing," she said.
Executives from Fifield flew to Honolulu to attend burial council meetings, and working with architects, made a few design adjustments.
They also hired consultant Dawn Chang of Ku'iwalu to oversee the process.
One set of iwi will remain in place at the public park planned at the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Ena Road, which will also offer native Hawaiian plants, a pond and a waterfall.
COURTESY FIFIELD COS.
Above, a rendering of a condo unit in the Allure Waikiki, which will be completed in late 2009 after making adjustments for two native Hawaiian burials on the 2.2-acre site. CLICK FOR LARGE
The iwi found at the site of the parking structure was more challenging. Fifield's team decided they would build a special encasement within the garage where no cars would park.
Several pillars were reconfigured so as not to disturb the iwi but to keep the structure intact.
David Jacobson, Fifield's vice president of sales and marketing, said it was important to take all the appropriate actions.
At the same time, the development team learned that before the Wave Waikiki nightclub, the site for Allure Waikiki was also a gathering place, home to fishponds, native Hawaiian families and musicians.
It was Fifield's first time going through such a process, even though it has built more than 50 high-rises worth $4 billion, from Las Vegas to Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Allure Waikiki is Fifield's first Hawaii project.
Fifield last year bought the lot for $21 million from Oaktree Capital Management LLC and is spending hundreds of millions on the project.
Despite the leveling residential real estate market, buyers were walking in the door when the sales office opened on June 30. To date, 56 units have been taken.
Most buyers are local, according to Jacobson, some of them migrating from neighboring condos, such as the Waipuna next door and Waikiki Landmark across the street. But there are also mainland and international buyers.
Allure Waikiki, designed by Architects Hawaii, will feature an open-style lobby, with a sixth-floor recreation deck. The tower will be surrounded by open, green space, according to Jacobson, and perhaps even a bocce ball court on the front lawn.
Down the line, Fifield plans a standalone restaurant, where the current sales office now sits. It will be upscale, like Roy's, according to Jacobson, though no operator has been chosen yet.
Construction of Allure Waikiki is expected to start in September, with completion in late 2009.