Brookfield breaks ground on Lilia Waikiki rental apartments

By Janis L. Magin  – Real Estate Editor, Pacific Business News Sep 11, 2019, 7:37am HST Updated Sep 11, 2019, 7:56pm EDT

Brookfield Properties broke ground on its 455-unit Lilia Waikiki project Tuesday, the first new rental apartment building in Waikiki in decades, which will include 91 affordable apartments for tenants making no more than 80% of the area median income.

Dene Oliver, founder of OliverMcMillan — which announced the project two years ago before being acquired by Brookfield Properties last year — acknowledged the project would be the last started under OliverMcMillan.

He told a crowd of more than 100 assembled beneath a large banyan tree at the construction site that the finished project will be “spectacular and a tribute to Queen Emma.” The name Lilia Waikiki refers to the Hawaiian word for lily, the queen’s favorite flower.

The project, which won approval from the Honolulu City Council late last year, is being built on land leased from the Queen Emma Land Co. — the site of the 28-story, 285-foot tower is said to have once been the queen’s garden — and the ground rent will benefit The Queen’s Health Systems, which runs some of the state’s largest hospitals, during the course of a 65-year ground lease that began in July. The site is a 2.5-acre block bounded on three sides by Walina Street, Kuhio Avenue and Kanekapolei Street, diagonally across from the International Market Place, which is also on Queen Emma land.

Kris Hui, vice president of mixed-use development at Brookfield Properties, noted that the developer worked with the cultural descendants of the area on the project and added that he spent part of his childhood at his parents’ store in the neighborhood.

The tower will have 364 market-priced studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well as 38 affordable studio units that will be similar in size and finishes to the market-priced units. The building was designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, and the project architect is Benjamin Woo Architects of Honolulu. The general contractor is Nordic PCL Construction.

“When you come back for the opening, you’re going to walk in here and your jaws are going to drop,” said Oliver, who is Brookfield’s chief vision officer.

The tower will also have about 43,592 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor for retail and restaurant, including a 25,742-square-foot, two-story grocery store operated by Food Pantry Ltd. that will be called Waikiki Market. The store will feature convenience and grab-and-go offerings in 4,500 square feet on the ground floor, topped by a full-service supermarket with a bar, according to Roger Wall, vice chairman of Foodland Super Market Ltd. and Food Pantry Ltd.

Cushman & Wakefield ChaneyBrooks is handling the leasing for the commercial space. Andrew Starn, vice president of retail at the firm, said he has already received interest from potential tenants, who will likely be restaurant or local retail users. Starn said he’s holding a brokers’ open on the project Wednesday at the new ESPACIO, The Jewel of Waikiki hotel.

In addition to the tower, the project includes the renovation of four existing walk-up buildings across from the tower site on Kanekapolei Street that will have 53 affordable one- and two-bedroom units when they reopen next spring. Allie Builders is the general contractor on that portion of the project, which is expected to take seven months.

The site’s construction fence on the Kuhio Avenue side is covered by a colorful mural painted by three artists from Pow! Wow! Hawaii — Jasper Wong, Jeff Gress and Kamea Hadar — the first mural the nonprofit organization known for covering buildings in Kakaako has painted in Waikiki.

Read more:

Comments are closed.