Waikiki Construction Refreshes Hotels
Current construction is a partial preview of the future
(page 3 of 3)
Rationale for more construction
It's not like there aren't any economic incentives to redevelop Waikiki. In fact, most observers in the travel industry say the changing demographics and expectations of today's travelers mean that Waikiki infrastructure – in spite of all the recent renovations – is becoming obsolete. "If you look at the overall visitor product in Waikiki," says Kyo-ya COO Ernie Nishizaki, "it's predominately built in the 1960s and 1970s. The exceptions on either extreme are the Moana and the Royal Hawaiian, which were build in 1901 and 1927, and the Hyatt, the Halekulani and the Prince, which were built in the early 1980s. But really, we haven't seen any new hotel product in 20 or 30 years."
According to Nishizaki, the age of the hotel product has far-reaching implications on the marketability of Waikiki. "What you see in a typical hotel built in the 1970s is a 280-to-300-square-foot guest room, very small bathrooms, and limited amenities. But today's visitor wants a guest room that's 360 to 480 square feet, a larger guest room living area, as well as a much larger bathroom. That's something that's not provided today in Waikiki, with the exception of the Halekulani, so there's a significant need to upgrade what we offer. If you want to attract that high-paying visitor from Japan, China, Korea and some of the emerging markets, you have to be able to compete with places like Bali and Cancun that have properties built in the last five years." That's one of the advantages of timeshare, Nishizaki says. Timeshare offers the kind of larger units with more amenities that today's traveler demands.
Of course, you still need somewhere to put your development. And even as Kyo-ya explores the regulatory challenges of a teardown, others in the visitor industry seem to have more modest expectations for future construction in Waikiki. Some, like Rick Egged of the Waikiki Improvement Association, see pockets of opportunity for retail development scattered around Waikiki in places like the mauka end of Lewers and the vacant lot behind St. Anthony's. Others are more cautious.
"Today," says Outrigger's David Carey, "my crystal ball says the most likely projects are going to be room renovations for hotels that have good enough bones that they can rationalize an upgrade." He pauses a moment before adding, "And residential conversions of hotel properties; I actually think that's going to happen."
Hilton Hawaiian Village: Two Decades of Construction
Hilton’s plan for its renovated pool area.
Kalia Tower construction
Lagoon Tower renovation and conversion to timeshare
Construction of Ocean Crystal Chapel
Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon restoration
Ala Moana Boulevard road improvements
Grand Waikikian construction
Paradise Pool construction (above)
Tropics Bar and Grill construction
Rainbow Tower renovation
Alii Tower renovation
Diamondhead Tower renovation
Kalia Tower renovation
Tapa Tower renovation
Hilton Master Plan
Two timeshare towers, retail and pool
Estimated cost: $760 million
Note: Timeline subject to change. Budget for most future projects not disclosed.
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