Erika Engle

Half-full or
not an issue

The Gentry Pacific Design Center is 100 percent occupied, with more recent lessees like Snaidero Hawaii currently in build-out.

The full tenant list, while not comprising all companies, is a milestone for Gentry Properties, a commercial leasing company owned and operated by Gentry Pacific Ltd.

The center was initially named Gentry Pacific Center in 1986 and was renamed in 1993 to better reflect the tenant mix the company wished to draw. The businesses draw customers from the general public as well as the design community.

The converted industrial space is now fully occupied.

"The office market vacancy rate is currently 11.84 percent," said Mike Hamasu, consulting and research director for Colliers Monroe Friedlander Inc. Most buildings are roughly 89 percent occupied.

"It's a tremendous feat to be able to be fully occupied in a market that still has a good amount of vacancy," said Hamasu.

In addition to doing a good job of leasing the property, a huge contributing factor is the residential housing market, Hamasu said.

With the recent large volume of home sales, Hamasu observed that, "the next step is, how do I furnish this?"

Ultimately, any industry that's related, such as furniture, appliance, carpeting and other retailers are likely to do well, he said.

The grand opening of the new Snaidero Hawaii showroom is scheduled for the end of February, but owner Mark Shigei expects construction to be finished in two weeks. Snaidero, headquartered in Italy, is a manufacturer of high-end kitchen cabinetry.

It is a huge expansion into 2,300 square feet from its previous 900 square feet in the Pacific Guardian Tower.

"I've been targeting this space for quite a long time, since all the kitchen people, all the competitors are here," Shigei said. The lucky break this time around came because two adjoining spaces were available.

Indich Collection has been a tenant since 1992.

"I love this place. It's a wonderful building with beautiful architecture ... it's a wonderful space with a lot of natural light, high ceilings and interesting architectural features within our suite," said owner William Indich.

"This design center is perfectly situated for the high-end residential boom that Hawaii is experiencing," he said.

The center "draws a very high-end clientele from all around the islands. We get designers from all the islands and we get very high-end clients from Asia, and things couldn't be better."

Everybody looks smart when the economy is good, Indich chuckled.

"The economy here is so good that if people aren't doing well, they should reconsider what they're doing."

The now-bustling building had a rocky transition from its original incarnation as the American Can Co. factory, built in the 1930s.

Can production ceased in the early 1970s, but the sale of the land and building was tied up in court until 1985. Gentry Pacific purchased the building for less than $8 million with plans to spend $3 million on its renovation, according to the soon-to-be-updated Web site at

Among the newer clients are Assist 2 Sell Buyers and Sellers Realty, Urban Loft Development, Hawaii Home Ownership Center, John Cook Kitchens and Hawaii Pacific Venture, a property management company that manages the center.

"Fresh container loads are coming in weekly. It's a bustling place," said property manager Leolani Kini.

Now that the center is at capacity, what do you do to keep them?

"A lot of customer service," Kini smiled.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at:


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