-- $460 Million Hotel-Retail-Entertainment Center to Transform Aging Lewers-Kalia-Beach Walk Area Into Premier Leisure Destination for Visitors, Local Residents; Redevelopment Expected to Create Hundreds of Jobs, New Opportunities for Local Businesses --
HONOLULU, HAWAII -- Outrigger Enterprises, Inc. today broke ground on Waikiki Beach Walk (www.waikikibeachwalk.com), the $460 million, 7.9-acre hotel-retail-entertainment redevelopment that will transform the dated Lewers-Kalia-Beach Walk area of Waikiki into a premier leisure destination featuring name-brand hotels, shops and restaurants into a unique Hawaiian-style, pedestrian-friendly setting.
"This is an historic day for Hawaii and for Outrigger," said David Carey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Outrigger Enterprises. "Waikiki Beach Walk represents an exciting new era for Waikiki, one that brings new energy and vitality to one of the worldâ??s most beloved tourist destinations.
"Outrigger began in Waikiki more than half a century ago, so it is with deep pride we're launching this exciting new development that helps ensure Waikiki will remain the world's favorite vacation spot for
decades to come," Carey added.
Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle and Honolulu City and County Mayor Mufi Hannemann were among numerous dignitaries, government, community and business leaders who attended the official ground breaking ceremony. The symbolic "ground breaking" was held on the roof top of the OHANA Waikiki
Tower hotel, which will be completely renovated and converted into the Embassy Suites Hotel-Waikiki Beach Walk as part of the new Waikiki Beach Walk project.
Waikiki Beach Walk -- which has been ten years in planning -- will transform an aging, congested area of Waikiki into a "must see" visitor destination center featuring an outdoor entertainment plaza, 40 specialty retailers, four major restaurants and several smaller food and beverage outlets, plus four nationally-recognized hotels. "Waikiki Beach Walk will be an unsurpassed, fully integrated mixed-use Waikiki destination where you can stay, play and experience Hawaii all in one area," explained Carey.
"The Outrigger hotel brand has always been synonymous with world-class service and genuine, Hawaiian-style hospitality. Weâ??re proud to bring the Outrigger brand to this innovative development that sets a new standard for excellence in Waikiki," Carey said.
Waikiki Beach Walk's unique architectural style -- which celebrates Hawaii's voyaging and ocean heritage -- incorporates design elements from the Hawaiian outrigger canoe and the sea. Graceful glass canopies
suspended over the outdoor plaza take their inspiration from ocean waves; supporting beams are shaped to represent the ama of an outrigger canoe. Water features, tropical plants and flowers, and stone walkways are also incorporated throughout the project, giving it a natural, open-air feeling of Hawaii.
"We wanted every aspect of this project to celebrate our rich island heritage, beginning with the architectural design itself," said Carey. "When visitors and guests enter Waikiki Beach Walk they will experience a truly special place that looks, feels, smells, tastes and sounds like Hawaii," Carey said.
Development plans for all three components of Phase One of Waikiki Beach Walk are now set
Orlando-based Fairfield Resorts, Inc. -- the world's largest vacation ownership company -- will totally renovate and convert the 480-room OHANA Reef Towers into a brand new 195-unit vacation ownership resort containing 95 one-bedroom units, 83 two-bedroom units, and 17 two-, three- and four-bedroom Presidential suites. Fairfield Hawaii at Waikiki Beach Walk will be Fairfieldâ??s first resort in Waikiki.
Outrigger will completely renovate the existing OHANA Waikiki Village and OHANA Waikiki Tower hotels and reopen them as the upscale Embassy Suites Hotelâ??Waikiki Beach Walk. Outrigger will continue to own and operate the new 421 all-suite hotel after the conversion of the 844 existing hotel rooms.
The last component of Phase One is the 90,000 square foot entertainment-retail complex being built by a partnership between Outrigger and well-known local developer Dick Gushman. The entertainment-retail complex will capture the essence of Hawaii and feature local flavors and island influences. World-renowned Roy's Restaurant -- whose new Waikiki location will be a significant draw to the area -- and Wolfgang Puck Express have recently been announced as the first two of six signature restaurants within Waikiki Beach Walk. Additionally, six specialty retailers -- including Whaler's General Store, ABC Stores, Maui Divers, TT&K Hawaiian Shirts, Malibu Shirts and Freaky Tiki Tropical Optical -- have also been named as part of the new center. Additional restaurants and retail tenants will be announced within the next few months.
"Our goal was not only to create new, high-quality jobs with this project, but to create new opportunities for local businesses as well," said Carey. "We're excited to report that the majority of the new tenants are Hawaii-owned and operated businesses."
Phase One construction is slated to begin by mid April and is expected to span 15 to 18 months
Phase Two involves redevelopment of the block bordered by Saratoga Road, Beach Walk, and Kalia Road. Outrigger remains in the planning phase of this stage of the development -- which will affect the OHANA Reef Lanai and OHANA Royal Islander hotels -- as it completes its vision for a more beautiful visitor and resident-friendly destination in the heart of Waikiki.
"Over the years, the Lewers Street area has sadly deteriorated. The narrow sidewalks, lined with a concentration of aging hotels and low-end retail establishments, have more in common with fading inner city centers on the mainland than with the fabled Waikiki that people save for years to visit," said Mel Kaneshige, Senior Vice President of Outrigger Enterprises. "Our vision was to transform the existing jumble of storefronts and hotel lobbies into a more human-scale, fully-integrated destination that lets everyone know that they are indeed in Hawaii," Kaneshige added.
Outrigger has worked to ensure there will be no loss of jobs at the affected hotels. Employees have been allowed to transfer to other Outrigger hotels, or to take early retirement. Vendors and retailers in the area were notified many months in advance in anticipation of the redevelopment so they could plan accordingly.
Waikiki Beach Walk builds on Outrigger's deep history in the area. The 184-room Edgewater Hotel -- which opened in 1951 and is at the heart of the new Waikiki Beach Walk complex -- was the second hotel built by company founders Roy and Estelle Kelley, and for years was the only major building in that area of Waikiki. (The Kelleys' first hotel, the Islander, was built in 1947 on the site of the former Waikiki I and II Theaters and has long since been demolished.) The Edgewater Hotel was the first hotel in Waikiki to have an automatic elevator and a swimming pool, and it set the standard for Outrigger's growth in Waikiki in the succeeding decades, meeting the needs of generations of travelers seeking moderately priced rooms in Waikiki.
"The Kelley's began a tradition of Hawaiian hospitality more than 50 years ago that is legendary throughout the world today," said Carey. "Waikiki Beach Walk enables us to continue to build on that rich legacy, and to deliver the Outrigger promise of an authentic island vacation experience for our guests," Carey said.
Nancy Daniels, APR
Public Relations Manager
Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
2375 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
|Also See:||Outrigger Hotels Announces Key Appointments for its two Beachfront Hotels in Waikiki / January 2005|
|Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Assumes Management of the Exclusive Te Tiare Beach Resort in the Society Islands of French Polynesia / May 2004|