Bright spots can be seen in state economy


POSTED: Sunday, November 23, 2008





        Despite the economic crisis, some companies are going forward with development plans.

  Amid the gloom of Hawaii's entry into recession come glimmers of confidence that the state will get through the global crisis and regain prosperity. When that will happen remains to be seen, but businesses should hold off on succumbing to pessimism.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts broke ground last week on its planned $800 million family resort at Ko Olina that will include 350 hotel rooms and 480 time-share villas when it is completed in 2011. “;You can't ask for a better economic indicator than Disney breaking ground in your neighborhood,”; observed Attilio Leonardi, president of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce.

Los Angeles-based Irongate has construction loans in place to build the 38-story Trump International Hotel & Tower in Waikiki, to be completed next year, including 464 condo units that were sold for an average price of $1.5 million.

At the same time, Kamehameha Schools, the state's largest landowner, is going forward on plans in Kakaako for 2,750 homes on 29 acres and a 400,000-square-foot research center. Groundbreaking for the project's first phase, estimated to cost $80,000, could come by the end of 2010.

More jobs will be added when the city begins construction of the rail transit system from Kapolei to Ala Moana. Work could start by the end of next year.

Meanwhile, the Lingle administration reports progress in the attempt to increase tourism from South Korea and China. Korean Air is expected to add 700 seats a week to Hawaii starting the first quarter of next year, and China Airlines is considering an additional route between China and Hawaii, with a stop in Taipei.

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization reports that visitor arrival figures for this and next year are expected to decline significantly, leaving the industry to hunker down and look ahead.