It’s a … Boom!

September, 2004

These are sweet days for the construction industry. Home prices are hitting the stratosphere, just as a decade of billions of dollars worth of military construction work kicks in. Condominiums are kicking it in Kakaako, while retailers around town are starting to opt for much-needed property facelifts.

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization is expecting a 17.4 percent increase in the value of commercial construction permits to beyond the $5 billion mark this year. As the writer of this special report on construction, Alex Salkever, notes, it’s beginning to look a lot like a boom, with more and more sightings of that unofficial state bird, the construction crane.

It’s a boom that has construction companies licking their chops and moving or returning to Hawaii at a brisk clip, often by way of affiliation or acquisition. It’s also a boom that most local construction executives are feeling pretty good about. Check out our question and answer session with local construction executives Gerard Sakamoto, Kathleen Thurston, Bruce Coppa, Glen Kaneshige and Bill Wilson.

There are challenges, such as the rising cost of building materials outlined in “Chinese Takeout.” However, techies, such as Kaikor Construction’s Garrett Sullivan, are creating efficiencies using new technologies.

A look at the difficulties of building in Waikiki and profiles of Denny Watts, who recently returned to Hawaii to head his own construction company, and of Baseyard Hawaii, a thrift shop for surplus and recycled construction materials, which is saving us plenty in potential costs of landfill clutter, round out this comprehensive collection of construction stories. It will give you the 411 on what’s up in Hawaii construction.

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Kelli Abe Trifonovitch