Kakaako high-rise plans are curtailed


POSTED: Thursday, October 16, 2008

Developers of a new, luxury high-rise in Kakaako have put their plans on hold.

K2 Investors LLC, an affiliate of Los Angeles-based Woodridge Capital, announced plans earlier this year to build a crescent-shaped residential high-rise which was to go up between the Hawaiki Tower and Koolani.

The 38-story tower would have been the final phase of 404 Piikoi, which already includes the Nauru Tower, 1133 Waimanu, Koolani and Hawaiki Tower. It also was to include a separate, five-story project priced more affordably at 1226 Waimanu St.

The plans already had won approval from the Hawaii Community Development Authority In February.

Scott MacKinnon, a Honolulu attorney for K2 Investors, said the project is on hold indefinitely due to tighter credit markets.

“;Current financial and real estate conditions today are much worse than when they first went in and requested the amendment to 404 Piikoi,”; he said. “;It's hard to predict when things in the financial markets will shake out.”;

Anthony Ching, HCDA's executive director, said he had not been informed of the project's delay, but that there was no time limit on the state agency's planned development permit.

Kakaako has been the site of numerous, new high-rise condos over the last few years that sold out quickly during the peak of the market. But today, the newest ones out of the pike are struggling to sell their units.

Allen Leong, director of operations for KC Rainbow, which built the twin Moana Pacific towers and is now building Moana Vista, says he can feel the difference.

People are still walking into the sales office, Leong said, but are more reluctant to commit to a binding contract - even though reservations only require a 10 percent deposit.

Many buyers with reservations pulled out once news of Aloha Airlines' bankruptcy emerged, followed by an onslaught of other bad economic news. Some real estate agents convinced their clients to buy in existing projects instead of one under construction.

But Leong still feels optimistic that by February or March 2010, when Moana Vista is expected to be completed, the credit markets will ease up.

“;It's going to be a long-term marketing effort,”; he said. “;I can guarantee you, when I'm six months away from completion, it will be easier.”;

The development permit for 404 Piikoi originally was approved in 1984.