orchestra is planning a return to HonoÂlulu. Now so is an effort to build a
luxury condominium tower named for harmonious composition.
developer OliverMcMillan has partnered with local landowner and automobile
dealer Joe Nicolai to build a roughly 400-unit luxury condo called Symphony at
the mauka-Ewa corner of Ward Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard.
The site is
largely the same spot on which developer Jack Myers attempted to build a luxury
condo named Symphony Park in the early 1990s.
music-inspired names aim to trade on the proximity of neighboring Blaisdell
Center where many a symphony has been played.
Blaisdell was a
longtime home of the HonoÂlulu Symphony, an organization established in 1900 but
disbanded in 2009 due to financial difficulties. The professional orchestra has
been reconstituted as the Hawaiâ€˜i Symphony Orchestra and is scheduled to perform
its debut concert at the Blaisdell on March 4.
development director for OliverMcMillan, said the firm felt the Symphony name
adds value and recognition to the new condo project.
already some good branding for that property,"â€ˆhe said. "Iâ€ˆthink there's a lot
of positive recognition from the location standpoint. It's going to be a premier
and Nicolai recently submitted an application with the Hawaii Community
Development Authority for a permit to allow a tower up to 400 feet high.
Some details of
the project are still in the design phase, though the developer is scheduled to
make a presentation to the agency on Feb. 29 at 9 a.m.
If approval is
given, OliverMcMillan would like to begin selling units in late summer, followed
by construction by the end of the year if there is enough interest from buyers,
tower is OliverMcMillan's second residential high-rise project in Hawaii, and
first built from scratch. The company finished the former Moana Vista tower
after acquiring the partially built project from another developer facing
That project on
Kapiolani makai of McKinley High School was re-branded as Pacifica and completed
project is being proposed amid what appears to be a small rush of projects being
readied in expectation of another upswing in the market for new high-rise condos
in urban HonoÂlulu.
Others in the works
include WaiÂhoÂnua by Alexander &â€ˆBaldwin in Kakaako, an unnamed tower
planned by a California developer on the former Kuhio Avenue site of Hula's Bar
&â€ˆLei Stand in Waikiki and a tower on top of the Nordstrom parking garage at
Ala Moana Center.
OliverMcMillan partnership is similar to an arrangement that produced Capitol
Place downtown several years ago, where local car dealer PflueÂger Group bought
land and partnered with a developer to build a condo tower atop space for a
include a high-end car dealership for Nicolai, who sells a variety of European
sports cars and other makes through JNâ€ˆAutomotive Group and Wholesale
the vehicle lineup has yet to be determined, given that construction would take
a couple of years. "In a little over three years, we should be in there,"â€ˆhe
envisioned a similar plan for about a decade. He bought the Symphony site in
2000 and considered a residential tower before settling on another idea. In 2002
Gov. Ben Cayetano helped unveil a project calling for a three-story galleria of
international vehicle showrooms, ethnic restaurants and lodging topped by an
office tower branded with the state's World Trade Center franchise.
partnered with commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis Hawaii Inc. on the
project, but the plan never got off the ground as demand remained weak for
office space while residential real estate took off.
proved to be a difficulty for the site's previous owner, Myers, a local
developer whose projects include the Waikiki Prince Hotel, One Archer Lane and
Waikiki Trade Center.
the Symphony site in 1990 with an affiliate of Japanese-based DaiÂichi Real
Estate. Myers envisioned that his luxury condo tower would create a "gateway"â€ˆto
an arts and culture district including the Blaisdell, the then-Academy of Arts
and Thomas Square. But as he razed former businesses on the site that included
Kapiolani Bowl in 1992, a real estate market downturn was unfolding and his
In 1997 Myers
announced plans to instead build a high-rise retirement community on the site
while retaining the Symphony Park name. A year later, frustrated by Hawaii's
then-stagnant economy, Myers relocated to San Francisco.