A Closer Look At Kakaako: The Honolulu County’s Third City





Known for its parklets, the booming Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako stretches between Ala Moana near Waikiki to the east and downtown Honolulu and Honolulu Harbor to the west. The commercial and retail district is home to an estimated 17 thousand residents, a number that is expected to reach 50 thousand by 2030.

The growth is believed to be an offshoot, primarily, of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) and the State’s residential developments and improvement projects of over $217 million.

In 2012, the Abercrombie administration gave the 25 acres of the Kakaako Makai property to OHA to satisfy past ceded land payments. Kakaako is at 600 acres in total land area.

Real Estate in Kakaako

A growing wall of concrete and new buildings in Kakaako signifies a vibrant district real estate industry. According to the 2nd quarter report by the Prudential Locations LLC, the Ala Moana-Kakaako area registered a notable 74.6 percent increase in single-family home median price since June 2013. The large shift in the overall median price was primarily due to a shift in the mix of units selling, it added.

In mid-October, Alexander and Baldwin (A&B) started construction on the former CompUSA site for its $200-million project. Also known as The Collection, A&B’s project includes 397-unit high-rise tower, a 54-unit mid-rise building, 14 town homes and retails shops and restaurants along Ala Moana Boulevard and Auahi, South and Keawe Streets. The project is expected to be completed in late 2016.

In August, the 54 lofts were sold like pancakes between $349 thousand and $370 thousand for a studio and from $540 thousand to $580 thousand for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit.

According to Hawaii Americana Realty, the positive upswing in real estate sales throughout Honolulu and Oahu particularly the Kakaako neighborhood could continue for the rest of the year and easily into the beginning of 2015.

In November, the Howard Hughes Corporation will present its plans for the former spot of Hawaii’s first Nordstrom Rack store at 330 Kamakee Street. The plans include a Whole Foods Market as well as 466 condo units in its main tower. The project has a combined total of 78, 319 square feet of commercial space, 53,375 square feet of indoor and outdoor recreation space and 1,301 parking stalls.

Greater buyer demand indicates that the sale of luxury homes and condominiums in Kakaako will continue to be a seller’s market in the next couple of years.

Things To Do And See in Kakaako

Kakaako offers different alternatives to the city’s better-known attractions and recreation spots like Waikiki and Pearl Harbor.

For family events, Kakaako offers The Groove Hawaii with its gas-powered go-kart racing along a one-third-mile outdoor track. It also has a 30-foot-tall rock climbing wall, Paradise Pedals Party Bike, Segway rides, arcade games and children’s rides.

While the family fun park’s services are primarily targeted at local residents, some offerings like guided tours on the Segways and the rolling bar may appeal to visitors.

For spectacular views of Waikiki and Diamond Head, the district has the Kakaako Waterfront Park, down Cooke Street and across Ala Moana Boulevard.

For a thriving urban art scene, Kakaako offers colorful street murals that range from a skeleton with a surfboard in tow flashing the Hawaiian hand-greeting shaka to a panda ferociously snapping its jaws near a doe-eyed maiden. There are also murals of Hawaiian royalty.

For a huge collection of Hawaiian and Asian themed stickers, stamps and stencils, Kakaako has The Rubber Stamp Plantation in Ilaniwai Street. The Rubber Stamp Plantation also offers workshops for philatelists and stamp hobbyists and enthusiasts.

Kakaako also boasts of an array of multi-ethnic restaurants including Hanks Haute Dogs that serves gourmet hot dogs and Highway Inn that specializes in Hawaiian plate lunches. For Mexican and Spanish food lovers, Cocina Hawaii serves Mexican cuisine while Bevy Bar is known for its Spanish tapas and specialty cocktails.



Photo Credit: Daniel Ramirez

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1 Response

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