PHOTO ILLUSTRATION COURTESY COOKE CLAYTON LLC
Million dollar lofts
NCR Building loft project on Kapiolani Boulevard aims upscale
STORY SUMMARY »
The redevelopment of the Vladimir Ossipoff-designed former NCR Building on Kapiolani Boulevard is taking a distinctly upscale approach, with the loft units being marketed as "progressive, modern living spaces."
The Vanguard Lofts will offer 32 units for an estimated ballpark range of $750,000 to $1.8 million, with custom finishes, industrial-sized windows, gourmet kitchens, and private rooftop decks.
A sales office and model loft are expected to open in early June.
Cooke Clayton LLC is bringing new life to the former office building by refurbishing it while adding an adjacent six-story structure.
Downstairs, JN Automotive Group will open a showroom on the ground floor featuring luxury automobiles, including Lamborghinis and Maseratis.
FULL STORY »
With prices in the range of $750,000 to $1.8 million, the Vanguard Lofts are banking on Honolulu's market for urban luxury.
The developers of the Vanguard Lofts see a market for high-end, low-rise condominums in Kapiolani.
Location: 720 Kapiolani Blvd.
Developer: Cooke Clayton LLC (U.S. Pacific affiliate)
Total units: 32
Price range: From $750,000 to $2.2 million
Delivery date: Spring 2009
On the Web: http:// thevanguardlofts.com
A sales office and model loft for the Vanguard Lofts, a redevelopment of the former NCR Building at 720 Kapiolani Blvd., is slated to open early next month.
With only 32 units -- mostly one- and two-bedrooms ranging from between 835 square feet to 2,000 square feet -- there aren't too many to choose from.
"We have a totally unique product," said Chris Deuchar, president of U.S. Pacific Development, which is developing Vanguard Lofts as Cooke Clayton LLC.
The project, which incorporates the old National Cash Register building designed by the late famed architect Vladimir Ossipoff, is being marketed as "progressive, modern living spaces."
A new six-story building will connect to the former NCR building of the same height.
Sales are expected to begin in June, but a Web site has been up for several months, with a virtual tour of the Vanguard's recreational "skydeck," complete with swimming pool, whirlpool spa, BBQ area and curtained cabanas.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION COURTESY COOKE CLAYTON LLC
The Vanguard Lofts, which will be located at 720 Kapiolani Blvd., will consist of 32 units ranging from 835 square feet to 2,000 square feet. The luxury living spaces will range from $750,000 to $2 million and is expected to be completed in Spring 2009.
Completion is expected in the spring of 2009.
In addition, close to 3,500 square feet on the ground floor will belong to JN Automotive Group for a luxury automobile showroom, featuring Maseratis, Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Lotuses.
The Von Hamm-Young Corp., the original owner of the building, also sold cars there back in 1907, but the brands it offered then were Buick, Nash and Studebaker.
Deuchar, who plans to live in one of the lofts himself, said more than 700 people have registered to get more information about Vanguard Lofts. But that's only to express interest.
"We've had a lot of people that really love it," he said of the feedback. "One of our assumptions is that people want to live in town. But we'll find out when we go to sales."
The prices are still preliminary, but are tilted toward the higher end of the scale.
Cooke Clayton is actually polling prospective buyers online on their unit preferences for a one-bedroom with lanai for between $750,000 to $800,000 or a 2-bedroom with rooftop deck for between $1 million to $1.6 million.
At the top end, a 3-bedroom and den with rooftop deck is going for between $1.8 million to $2 million.
Heyer & Associates is handling sales.
Real estate analyst Ricky Cassiday classified Vanguard Lofts as luxury, given that the median price of a condo last month was recorded at $327,000.
Cassiday said that it makes sense to plan high-end projects at the bottom of a cycle, and vice verse.
"The high end is the part of the market that doesn't have a hard time during bad times," he said. "You may be bucking the trend, but also tapping into the right demographic of people who are wealthy, and express themselves."
Vanguard is offering 19 different floor plans, which include the option of a private, rooftop walkout, personal gardens or a private whirlpool spa and custom barn doors. Seven of the lofts will have direct access to the Sky Deck.
Features include industrial-sized windows, exposed concrete walls and ceilings, and gourmet kitchens outfitted with Gaggenau appliances. The building will be pre-wired for high-speed Internet.
Prospective owners of the lofts -- under Hawaiiana Management -- will be allowed one dog (less than 70 pounds) or one cat, two parakeets or canaries, and fish.
Vanguard joins several other residential projects recently completed or under construction in the area, including Keola Lai on Queen Street, as well as Capitol Place and the Pinnacle Honolulu near the downtown financial district.
The project was granted a development permit by the Hawaii Community Development Authority in August 2006. Original plans called for up to 47 lofts.
Cooke Clayton purchased the building back in early 2005 for about $6 million from nonprofit labor group Unity House. At the time, it was being leased as temporary office space, and was also at one time campaign headquarters for current city mayor Mufi Hannemann.