The Developer, PACREP got their first “wall” approved (with a design that is against the WSD Guidelines) in March 2013. Now they want to increase the monolithic wall with a 2nd Tower at 2139 Kuhio Ave (in the adjacent lot). (See Star Advertiser article – December 15, 2013). PACREP announced their intentions for the 2nd tower in a “Developer’s report” in April 2013 (just 1 month after the DPP approved the 1st tower in March 2013).
To many, it’s not hard to believe that PACREP withheld info about their plans to build a 2nd tower until after the 1st tower was approved and the window of opportunity for community testimony and the public’s standing in the decision making process had ended. Had their plans been revealed earlier, the entire decision could have been different, since the DPP approved the 1st Tower based on “Site constraints and operational requirements”.
Contributions made to Elected Officials
All the while, PACREP, Irongate, Jason Grosfeld and related parties to the Developer continue to make timely contributions to City Council members and elected officials involved with decisions on development projects in Waikiki. (See a recent report of contributions to Stanley Chang – City Council member for the Waikiki district). According to the report, the Developer is (by far) Stanley Chang’s largest contributor. The timing of these contributions couldn’t be better (for the Developer who needs City Council approval for a 2nd tower).
Draw your own conclusions, but to many it appears that the Developer believes they can buy their way into building walls in Waikiki at the expense of residents and property owners, and against the WSD Guidelines.
Even China and other countries are aware of the Developer’s methods of contributions to City officials (article is converted to English)… (http://vietnamvisachina.com/developers-of-controversial-waikiki-tower-invested-heavily-in-state-local-officials/)
WNB votes against the 2nd Tower as presented
As you may have heard, in January 2014, the Waikiki Neighborhood Board (WNB) voted overwhelmingly against the proposed 2nd tower in a (13-1) vote to oppose the 2nd tower as presented. (See Star Advertiser article – January 16, 2014).
The WNB very rarely votes on development projects, and even more rarely do they vote against a development project. One would think that this would send a strong message to the DPP and City Council. Time will tell if the City, the DPP and the Developer takes any notice, or if they try to bulldoze this project upon the community as they did with the first tower.
The first tower (2121 Kuhio Ave), which will be managed by Ritz Carlton under the name Ritz Carlton Waikiki Beach Residences (a condo-hotel), is now under construction. When this monstrosity of a wall completes, everyone will see how it “book-ends” an entire neighborhood street’s view of the ocean, (when it didn’t have to). It will be another one of Waikiki’s horrid developments that could have been built narrower and in accordance with the guidelines. And it will stifle any new developments behind it which will have no possibility of an ocean view.
Even the Design Advisory Committee (DAC) said that the wall design of Tower 1 was unnecessary – in their comments noted in the Final Approval Decision Document.
The DPP chose to completely ignore: both the DAC, the WNB, Hawaii Thousand Friends, Waikiki Area Residents Association, and hundreds of letters and public testimonies, asking for a narrower tower design that would have preserved ocean and mountain views and complied with the WSD Guidelines.
Let’s hope the DPP isn’t as insensitive to the community this time around.
People should get involved if they want this to stop. Walls should not become a precedent in Waikiki. The WSD Guidelines were developed in 2001 to stop this kind of development from continuing. What good are guidelines if developers choose to interpret and construe them to suit their profits.
Video of WNB meeting and vote (Jan 14, 2014)
PACREP’s presentation and the WNB vote starts at 01:05 in the video… (See Video of WNB meeting and the vote to oppose the 2nd tower – January 14, 2014)
See the 2139 Kuhio – Docs page – for the latest docs, including the DEA and DPP response.
See the 2139 Kuhio – Articles page – for the latest News articles related to the 2nd Tower.