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Jan. 21, 2013

State Agency Green-Lights Student Housing for Aloha Tower

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) has gained approval from the Aloha Tower Development Corp. (ATDC) to repurpose the Aloha Tower Marketplace in downtown Honolulu into a 300-unit student dormitory and multi-use complex.

According to the Pacific Business News, the $30 million project to create a 160,000-square-foot, two-story waterfront marketplace would put student housing on the upper floor, with retail, dining and entertainment options on the first floor.

“We’re delighted with the actions taken today by ATDC and excited about our ability to move forward with a project that we believe has tremendous implications for the university, for our downtown merchants and community, and for all of Honolulu,” said HPU President Geoffrey Bannister on the occasion of the announcement.

The university now plans to pursue permits and seek bond financing. Demolition and renovation could begin later this year, with completion scheduled for the fall of 2014.

The Aloha Tower Marketplace sits on state-owned land. Last year, the property was purchased by Ed Bushor, the founder of eRealty Fund, through an entity called Hawaii Lifestyle Retail Properties. AREA Property Partners sold the marketplace for $14 million. Through the entity, HPU now owns 80 percent of the project, while Bushor owns the other 20 percent.

In other news, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort has completed a seven-month, $25.5 million refurbishment of its beachfront Alii Tower. The renovation included upgrades to the property’s 322 guest rooms, a reconfiguration of its 12 suites and lobby, as well as new bathrooms and corridors.

Hilton Hawaii Area Vice President Jerry Gibson told the Pacific Business News that the new design maintains the Alii Tower’s tradition of grandeur, while also creating a vibrant, modern look. Ann Matsunami, partner at Pacific Asia Design Group in Honolulu, along with Jonathan Staub of Philpotts & Associates were the project’s designers.

Photo credits: www.alohatower.com