Howard Hughes Corp. Lands $600M for Nation’s Largest LEED-ND Platinum Project

Blackstone knows a good a project when they see one. It doesn’t get much better than Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village, a mixed-use master-planned community that will rise on 60 acres situated directly between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki on Oahu.
Waiea

Waiea, which means “Water for Life.”

Honolulu—Blackstone knows a good a project when it sees one. It doesn’t get much better than The Howard Hughes Corp.’s (HHC) Ward Village, a mixed-use master-planned community that will rise on 60 acres situated directly between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki on Oahu.

HHC announced this morning that it had secured a $600 million non-recourse construction loan from Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies for the first two condominium towers at the project: Waiea and Anaha. The loan closed on Nov. 6, and bears interest at one-month LIBOR plus 6.75 percent with a December 2019 final maturity date, according HHC’s 3Q14 earnings report.

“The transaction is indicative of our mandate to provide flexible capital solutions to best-in-class sponsors on institutional quality real estate and reaffirms our longstanding relationship with The Howard Hughes Corp.,” Mike Nash, chief investment officer of Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies, says.

JLL’s Dallas Capital Markets group, led by managing director Randy Fleisher, arranged the financing.

Waiea was designed by Vancouver’s James K.M. Cheng in collaboration with Honolulu-based firm WCIT Architecture. It will feature 171 residences and 8,000 square feet of retail space. Construction began in June 2014, and should wrap up in late 2016.

Anaha was designed by global architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, along with Honolulu-based Benjamin Wood Architects. It will offer 311 condo units and 17,000 square feet of retail space. Construction began this past Saturday, and completion is anticipated for early 2017. Whole Foods Market will also be opening its largest location in Hawaii directly across the street from Anaha.

Anaha

Anaha, which means “Reflection of Light.”

The condos are well received in the supply-constrained market. Presales launched on Feb. 1, 2014, and 75.5 percent of the 482 total units have been contracted and passed their 30-day rescission period as of Nov. 1 (83.6 percent for Waiea, and 71.1 percent for Anaha).

A third residential tower with a large workforce component is slated to break ground in 2015. The workforce tower will feature 424 units, 85 percent of which are categorized as workforce housing as there is a 20 percent affordable requirement for Ward Village. It is being designed with a glass curtain wall that offers floor-to-ceiling views.

“What we are trying to do is integrate the different income levels so that they live together harmoniously,” Grant Herlitz, president of The Howard Hughes Corp. told MHN in a September interview. “Essentially we are building a master planned community in the sky.”

When the 15-year master plan is complete, the 665,000-square-foot shopping district known as Ward Center will have been transformed into the largest LEED-ND Platinum-certified neighborhood in the U.S. with 4,000 units, up to 1.5 million square feet of retail, and a four-acre park that connects with a planned rail stop.

To see what else The Howard Hughes Corp. is up to when it comes to multifamily, be sure to check out Destined for Greatness, a feature from the October issue of Multi-Housing News.