Latest Posts

Halawa TOD Existing Conditions Report

The process of creating a TOD neighborhood plan is lengthy and involved. One of the first benchmarks is an existing conditions report. The Halawa Area Transit-Oriented Development Existing Conditions Report was recently released by DPP-TOD and it provides interesting reading. As one might expect, the majority of the report looks at present conditions and what exists in the area. I learned some interesting things that I did not know – Forty Niner Restaurant in Aiea is on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places and the Aiea Cemetery is located in the interchange between Kamehameha Highway and the H-201 and there are 475 graves of primarily Japanese immigrants from the early 20th Century. The cemetery is eligible for historic registration.

The final portion of the report makes some assumptions about potential development and re-development of the area. Not least amongst these is the enormous potential of the Aloha Stadium site. A well-planned multi-use facility would provide opportunities for expanded sports activities, entertainment, retail, ancillary office and perhaps even housing. All of this could be done while maintaining the highly popular Swap Meet (did you know more than a million people visit this each year?) and creating connectivity to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center where more than two million people visit each year.

Add a rejuvenated Pearl Harbor Historic Trail (PHHT) to the above and we can create a world-class experience for residents island-wide as well as an enhanced experience for visitors.

Here is an achievable scenario: a young family in Waipahu decides they want to spend the day at Aloha Stadium. They take the train to Aloha Stadium and spend a couple of hours at the Swap Meet. Deciding they would like to take in a matinee, they store their purchases in a rental locker and enjoy a quick meal at one of the restaurants in the complex before the movie. After the movie, it is mid-afternoon and a gorgeous Hawaii day with the trade winds moving gently across Pearl Harbor. A bike ride home along the PHHT beckons so they rent bikes from the on-site bike rental facility and head out. Along the PHHT they stop for a shave ice at a refreshment/rest stop in Aiea before continuing on to Waipahu. In Waipahu they return the bikes to the bike share facility and head home after a day filled with fun, family time and outdoor activity.

There are many such scenarios one can imagine for the area. Creating it in the real world requires everyone to work together and to share a vision. One of the simplest places to start is with the PHHT and there is a re-newed energy and commitment from both the government and private sectors. I expect to see positive changes along PHHT in the next year.

Read the report or skim over it and pick the highlights. It will enlighten and hopefully inspire us to think boldly about the future while never forgetting the past and always enjoying the present.

Shop & Dine on the Line – good for now but what about the future?

HART rolled out its Shop & Dine on the Line program this week in response to intense frustration and fear on the part of many business owners who have lost revenue and customers due to rail construction. The problem appears simple on the surface – once the rail is built, customers will come back and all will be well. I contend this is very short term thinking. While I don’t disagree that short term support can be helpful, these businesses owners and HART itself need to start thinking now about what happens after the rail is built.

Business owners, is your business going to be able to attract customers who have the option of easily going down to the next stop or two to find something they prefer? What if the station where they board the train has a more robust and vital retail area than your stop even if you are closer to where they live? What if some forward-thinking property owner re-develops their property adding in shops, restaurants and services customers want and you are playing catch up in three to five years?

Another hard question: is your business struggling only because of rail construction or are your goods, food or services not attracting new customers because of changing preferences from consumers?

Now is the time to start having these conversations and asking these questions whether you are a stand-alone business, part of a larger development or a consumer who wants quality food, goods and services available now and in the future.

Lurking behind all of this is the larger issue of HART’s role in TOD. Technically one of HART’s mandates is to facilitate TOD but their focus remains fixed on actually getting the rail built. I understand that but there must be a balance and it is spelled out in the Vision Statement from HART’s 2016 Business Plan: “Land Use: Supporting the City’s land development policy by providing access to an area targeted for development of a new urban center and helping create transit-oriented development along the rail line. [Emphasis added]

And, HART’s TOD responsibility is not just part of an obligatory “vision statement”, it is mandated through the Revised Charter of Honolulu (Charter or RCH) “to promote, create and assist transit oriented development projects near fixed guideway system stations that promote transit ridership, and are consistent with the adopted community plans and zoning.” RCH 17-103.2(n).

I have listened to HART board members go back and forth with HART about TOD and the one thing that stands out is an unwillingness on the part of HART to fully engage on TOD. One gets the sense that HART just wants the TOD arm of the Department of Permitting and Planning (DPP-TOD) to deal with it when the reality is everyone needs to work together.

The old cliche “The future is now” has never been more apropos. Now is the time for HART to fully engage on TOD or we run the risk of having stations where there is nothing appealing or attractive to riders. The worst case scenario is having stations where passengers are picked up and dropped off in what are essentially urban ghettos. Ridership will suffer, anticipated increases in tax revenues will not be realized and the much-desired Live, Work, Play, Eat and Shop lifestyle simply won’t exist.

Major Changes in Hawaii Hotel Branding and Management

There have been major changes in the branding and management of Hawaii hotels over the last ten years. Hawaii hotels have become more upscale, more brand-oriented and better managed.

The story behind this phenomenon dates back to the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when the Japanese invested heavily but didn’t actively asset manage their hotel investments. Brands and managers were not challenged and Japanese companies did not reinvest in their properties. Hawaii’s hotel inventory deteriorated and many properties fell into disrepair.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, sophisticated hotel investors purchased, renovated and re-positioned under-performing hotels in Hawaii. They have also brought in more sophisticated asset management, branding and revenue management. The result of the new investment in the visitor inventory, more sophisticated asset management and relative stability in Hawaii’s source markets has been dramatic RevPAR increases. Since 2009, RevPAR in Hawaii has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 10.2%.

In 2005, there were 17,700 rooms under global flags in Hawaii. Since then, global flags have added approximately 6,700 rooms that were not previously flagged. This is an increase of 38%.

Global brand and management changes over the last ten years


  • Waldorf Astoria brand and management of the 781-room Grand Wailea
  • Joie De Vivre management of the 80-room Coconut Plaza
  • Embassy Suites brand on 369 rooms in two towers in Outrigger’s Beach Walk project


  • Westin brand for the 791-room Moana Surfrider


  • Luxury Collection soft brand for the 526-room Royal Hawaiian
  • Courtyard by Marriott brand on the 404-room Wyland Waikiki
  • St. Regis brand and management of the 252-room Princeville Resort
  • Edition flag and management of the 360-room Yacht Harbor Tower


  • Courtyard by Marriott brand on the 311-room Aston Makaiwa
  • Holiday Inn brand on the 496-room Beachcomber Waikiki
  • Wyndham Grand brand on the 87-unit Koloa Landing Kauai


  • Disney brand on the new Aulani Resort at Ko Olina
  • Hyatt Place brand on the 451-room Ocean Resort
  • Courtyard by Marriott brand on the 455-room King Kamehameha Kona


  • Joie De Vivre management of the 125-room Shoreline
  • Courtyard by Marriott brand and management of the new 138-room hotel at Kahului Airport
  • Highgate management of the 830-room Pacific Beach Hotel


  • Andaz by Hyatt brand and management on the 347-room former Wailea Renaissance
  • Choice’s Ascend Collection for the 67-room Equus Hotel Waikiki


  • Montage brand on 50 units in the Kapalua Bay Residences
  • Holiday Inn Express brand on the new 75-room hotel in Kona


  • Autograph by Marriott brand on the 310-room Mauna Kea Resort
  • Courtyard by Marriott brand on the new 144-room hotel in Laie

The Future of Hotel Brands in Hawaii

The near term future for global brands in Hawaii looks bright. There are nearly 4,000 rooms that planned to be built for or will be converted to a global brand in the next few years. Some global brands that that are planned for Hawaii include:

  • Residence Inn by Marriott brand and management on the new 200-room hotel in Wailea
  • Holiday Inn Express on the soon-to-be renovated 600-room Maile Sky Court
  • Hilton Garden Inn brand on the 216-room Aloha Beach Resort Kauai
  • Hilton Garden Inn brand on the 663-room Ohana West Waikiki
  • DoubleTree by Hilton brand on the 388-room Naniloa Hotel Hilo
  • Hyatt soft brand on the 350-room Coco Palms resort on Kauai
  • Hampton Inn brand at Debartolo’s Kapolei shopping center development
  • Hyatt Place in Robertson Properties’ Live Work Play Aiea
  • Embassy Suites on the former Kisco site in Kapolei

Given that the majority of Hawaii’s visitor inventory in still not affiliated with a global brand, there is room for more growth. Branding of hotels, both globally and in Hawaii, will continue in the near term. However, I wonder when we will reach the saturation point. It will be interesting to see if there’s a backlash among customers. We’ve already seen smaller brands and hotel owners positioning their offerings as “anti-brands”.  In the meantime, I’m predicting more active global branding for Hawaii hotels.

An Overview of the Honolulu Rail Project and Transit-Oriented Development – Simply Put

After all the delays, law suits and speculation, the question is no longer whether rail is going to move forward but rather to understand and maximize the potential benefits of Transit-Oriented Development aka TOD. Simply put, TOD is development that focuses on land uses around a transit station or within a transit corridor.


  • Diversity of land uses
  • Mixed use development encouraged
  • Higher levels of density appropriate to the community
  • Mix of housing options and dedicated affordable housing
  • Intermodal connectivity including pedestrian, bikes and buses
  • Green infrastructure and open space
  • Low parking requirements and alternatives to car ownership
  • High quality design and strong sense of place and culture

The approach of the City and County of Honolulu has shifted over the past year or so from using concentric rings at ¼ mile and ½ mile around a transit station to outline TOD impacted areas. Now the approach is to identify TOD Zones that are more organic and specific to each station. This corridor-wide TOD Zone will be known as the TOD Special District and will eventually be governed by special zoning regulations similar to what we see in Waikiki. At present, there are special IPD-T (Interim Planned Development-Transit) guidelines available to encourage TOD in these areas now.


The guide way sweeps across the Ewa Plains. [Photo courtesy of HART]

The guide way sweeps across the Ewa Plains. [Photo courtesy of HART]

A remarkable transformation is taking place right now in West and Central Oahu as the rail project sweeps across the Ewa Plain into Waipahu and on to Pearl City and, sooner than you expect, to Ala Moana Center. The columns are rising and the guide way is forming while residents of communities along the route anticipate the day when they can ride the rail. Forward thinkers are deeply immersed in re-imaging what our communities will look like in five years, 10 years, 20 years and well beyond. Given that 60% of Oahu’s population lives along the rail corridor, the opportunities for shaping the future of how we live, work and connect are significant and worth serious discussion and consideration.

It is good to keep in mind that the entire TOD process is truly a work in progress. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for individuals and groups to have a significant impact on shaping the future of the community. Our Colliers TOD team has been impressed with the willingness of the DPP-TOD group to engage, share and listen.

Backed by our National Director, Rod Mullice, the local Honolulu TOD team provides a wide range of services to owners, investors and developers. Our Strategic Advisory Services include Opportunity Analysis, Transaction Management Process, Capital Markets and Brokerage.

Please contact us for further information.

Colliers Honolulu TOD Team
Gail Jennings
Project Lead
Transit-Oriented Development

Alika Cosner
Senior Associate
Transit-Oriented Development | Industrial

Ryan Marn (CCIM)
Transit-Oriented Development | Retail

Mark Bratton (CCIM, SIOR)
Executive Vice President
Investment Services

William “Bill” Froelich (CCIM, SIOR, JD)
Vice President
Investment Services | Industrial

Mike Hamasu
Director of Consulting and Research

Nanette M. Vinton
Research Consultant/Project Manager

Mid-Year 2017 Investment Market Summary

Transaction Activity Remains Robust

For Hawaii, real estate investment activity remains elevated when compared to the first half of 2016. While the pace of sales was slower in the first half of last year, transaction activity picked up speed in the second half resulting in more than 300 properties sold by year-end for a total of $4.1 billion. For 2017, this pace continues as sales volume jumped 81.9% from $1.048 billion to $1.906 billion. Mid-year transaction counts rose to their highest level in over a decade when 156 deals (each over $1 million) traded hands for a 24.8% boost in transaction activity as compared to 2016 levels.

Read the full Oahu Investment Market Report Summary


For early access to Colliers’ market reports, news and featured listings, subscribe below.

2nd Quarter 2017 Industrial Market Summary

New Kalihi Listings Push Vacancy Rates Higher

Oahu’s industrial market posted negative net absorption of 87,576 square feet for the second quarter of 2017, reversing the positive gains established during the first quarter. Vacancy rates rose to 1.75% from 1.53% and year-to-date net absorption was negative 60,504 square feet. For the past three years, Oahu’s industrial vacancy rates hovered near 2.0% reflecting a challenging leasing market for industrial tenants.

Read the full Oahu Industrial Market Report Summary


For early access to Colliers’ market reports, news and featured listings, subscribe below.

2nd Quarter 2017 Retail Market Summary

Rents Rise to Record High $4.00 PSF/Mo

After posting a loss of nearly 125,000 square feet of tenancy in the first quarter of 2017 due to the closure of Kmart and Sports Authority, the Oahu retail market rebounded generating more than 240,000 square feet of occupancy during the second quarter. Recent store openings by Mitsuwa Market and The Street by Michael Mina at International Market Place Sephora and Applebee’s at Ka Makana Alii regional mall, and Saks Off Fifth at Ala Moana Center, generated the majority of new occupancy growth. Year-to-date net absorption climbed to 122,299 square feet as the island-wide retail vacancy rate declined to 7.73% after spiking last quarter to 9.17%.

Read the full Oahu Retail Market Report Summary


For early access to Colliers’ market reports, news and featured listings, subscribe below.

2nd Quarter 2017 Office Market Summary

Office Market Post Positive Gains for the First Half of the Year

The Oahu office market posted a positive gain of 38,268 square feet of net absorption for the second quarter of 2017. This marks the second consecutive quarter of occupancy gains for the year, boosting year-to-date net absorption to 71,785 square feet. As a result, the island’s office vacancy rate fell from 12.43% to 12.23% over the past quarter, its lowest level in more than six years.

Read the full Oahu Office Market Report Summary


For early access to Colliers’ market reports, news and featured listings, subscribe below.

First Quarter 2017 Industrial Market Summary

Another Record Low Vacancy Rate Established

Falling to its lowest level in recorded history, Oahu’s industrial vacancy rate registered a miniscule 1.53% at the end of the first quarter of 2017. Roughly 36,000 square feet of new occupancy growth was squeezed out of this extremely tight market. Industrial brokers have had to educate their clients about the lack of expansion or relocation options and the need to start their search as early as possible.

Read the full Oahu Industrial Market Report Summary


For early access to Colliers’ market reports, news and featured listings, subscribe below.

First Quarter 2017 Office Market Summary

Oahu Office Market Starts Year with Positive Gains

The Oahu office market posted 33,517 square feet of positive net absorption for the first quarter of 2017. This resulted in a decline in the island-wide office vacancy rate from 12.66% at year-end 2016 to 12.43% in the first quarter. Office occupancy has flip-flopped over the past five quarters, but the overall pattern remained consistent with vacancy rates ranging between 12.0% and 14.0%.

Read the full Oahu Office Market Report Summary


For early access to Colliers’ market reports, news and featured listings, subscribe below.