Outrigger plans $300M Waikiki redevelopment


HONOLULU -- Outrigger Enterprises is planning a $300 million redevelopment of 7.9 acres of Waikiki land it owns on one of the most densely developed blocks in town.

Starting sometime in the first part of 2003, Outrigger will tear down three hotels at the west end of Waikiki near Fort Derussy: the Edgewater Lanais, which is currently vacant; the Ohana Coral Seas, and the Ohana Edgewater.

The block Outrigger plans to redevelop in the first phase and name Waikiki Beach Walk falls between Lewers Street and Beach Walk Street and Kalia Road and Kalakaua Avenue.

In place of the hotels will be a two-level retail complex, more open space for pedestrians, meetings space and entertainment areas all centered on an open-air plaza. That phase is set for completion in 2005.

Honolulu mayor Jeremy Harris called the project a "linchpin" in the remaking of Waikiki as a revitalized visitor destination.

"The redevelopment of this block has been in the city's dreams for years," said Harris. "Coupled with all the improvements the city has made at Kuhio Beach, the new bandstand in Kapiolani Park and the Natatorium, the linchpin has been the redevelopment of this very important block."

Carey said Outrigger has waited until now to redevelop the block because "we finally got all the pieces lined up in a positive economic environment with the interest of key investment partners."

In addition to tearing down the three hotels, the first phase of the project will include moving the guest entrances of the Ohana Waikiki Village and the Ohana Waikiki Tower from Lewers Street to the other side of the hotels on Beach Walk Street in order to ease congestion on Lewers Street.

Moving the hotel entrances, redirecting delivery trucks to Beach Walk and moving retail outlets farther back off the sidewalk on Lewers Street will create a less-crowded and more open area, according to Outrigger chief executive officer David Carey.

"Today Lewers Street is packed with tour buses, cars and delivery trucks," said Carey. "We want it to be more pedestrian friendly."

Creating more open space and more restaurants that are conducive to people-watching is one of the goals of the project, said Carey.

"If you think about Waikiki today, there are not many places you can go and sit down and people watch other than at the beach," according to Carey.

Honolulu city director of Waikiki development Peter Apo said the block of Lewers Street and Beach Walk needs to be opened up.

"It's really dense in there now, and when you walk down there, people are often wandering around asking 'Where is the beach?' and the beach is right in front of them but they can't see it," according to Apo. "So I'm really excited about this."

During phase one, Outrigger will lose 436 hotel rooms.

Phase two of the project is scheduled to start in 2006 with the elimination of the Ohana Reef Lanai, the Ohana Royal Islander and the Malihini Hotel, all of which will be replaced by a new 890-room Outrigger hotel.

That phase involves the block bounded by Kalia Road, Beach Walk and Saratoga Road.

Carey said the company currently has about 3,100 hotel rooms in the area in several hotels.

After the completion of both phases of the project, the company is expected to have between 3,300 and 3,400 rooms in the area.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI