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December 15, 2006

Avalon plans retail-office complex in downtown Kapolei


A local developer is planning to build a multiple-tower, 300,000­square-foot retail and office com­plex on vacant land in downtown Kapolei.

Avalon Development Co. last week bought the 3.2-acre parcel on Manawai Street, behind the Kapo­lei Library, from Campbell Estate for $6.78 million, said Christine Camp Friedman, president and CEO of Avalon Development.

The project still is in the design phase, but Camp Friedman said the groundbreaking would occur in about six to eight months.

"It's time for the city to have an office tower," she said.

The Avalon project is one of six office projects planned for similar-size lots in downtown Kapolei, according to Campbell Estate.

Conceptual drawings for Kapo­lei Pacific Center show two towers set at a diagonal on the square lot, with outdoor courtyards, pedestri­an paths and a parking structure. One tower is shown to be 11 stories high. The preliminary plan calls for 285,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail space, for a total of 335,000 square feet of leasable space.

Camp Friedman spoke about the project Wednesday while tes­tifying against a bill before the Honolulu City Council that would put on hold for a year all develop­ment of new buildings within a quarter mile of a proposed light-rail transit route.

Other developers and landowners, including Campbell Estate and General Growth Properties, also spoke against the bill, sponsored by Councilmember Gary Okino, which would halt all building permits, zone changes or other devel­opment of land. The bill did not pass second reading and was sent back to the zoning committee.

The bill's intention was to ensure the "premature or inap­propriate development in close proximity to the mass-transit alignment does not foreclose the potential for" a transit-oriented development along the route.

Dean Uchida of the Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii, said the idea is to have higher-density development along rail transit lines, to encourage people to live and work within walking distance of the train.

But Uchida said Oahu's infra­structure can't handle higher density in most areas. For ex­ample, the sewer system lacks the capacity for a denser urban core, he said.

"We don't think a moratorium is really going to address the problem of creating density unless you take care of these other things," he said.

Uchida noted that most of Ka­polei would be affected by the proposed legislation, since much of downtown Kapolei, including the Avalon project, is within a quarter mile of a proposed rail route.

"I think most of Kapolei would be under the moratorium," he said. "You cannot build."

Pacific Business New (Honolulu) - December 15, 2006

© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.




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