Project Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns Aloha Tower Marketplace?
Hawai‘i Pacific University (HPU), through a legal entity and in partnership with a private developer, purchased the Aloha Tower Marketplace (ATM) buildings in late 2011. HPU acquired the remaining ownership stake from the previous developer, a process that was completed in 2013, and is now the sole owner of ATM. The ATM sits on land owned by the State of Hawaii, which is subject to a long term lease and acquired as part of the purchase.
How does HPU plan to revitalize Aloha Tower Marketplace?
ATM is an iconic destination and HPU takes the responsibility of its revitalization seriously. We aim to be proper stewards of this project, as well as good neighbors to the community and our environment. Our plans for this venue have been consistent from the beginning:
- University Housing: Transform the second floor into modern, urban loft spaces for nearly 300 students, as well as a small number of faculty and staff
- Retail & Dining: Refresh the ground floor for various university uses plus a vibrant mix of retail, commercial and dining establishments that the public is encouraged to come and experience
- Community Spaces: Revitalize portions of Pier 10 — which is leased from the state and made available when not being used for maritime operations — as a multi-purpose venue with spaces for community gatherings, performances, lectures and recreational activities
This vision for a world-class center for higher education and dynamic community gathering space has been shared with lawmakers, the Aloha Tower Development Corp., bond investors, HPU’s Board of Trustees and campus constituents. It has been covered widely by local media, as well as in the HPU Today magazine and the HPU ‘Ohana Today e-newsletter. As details evolve and are finalized, the core plan for this project remains consistent with initial announcements from university leaders in 2012. The plan received an endorsement by the Downtown Neighborhood Board in January 2013.
What is the status of the revitalization project?
Over the summer, HPU began interior demolition on the first and second floor of ATM and emergency repair of the roof.
Our intention is that the first class of HPU students will have the opportunity to move into the chic, new housing in Fall 2015. In addition to living spaces, there will be learning and campus-activity spaces, including a Student Learning Commons, Student-Faculty Lounge and three multi-purpose centers. The Barnes & Noble College-run bookstore will be located at ATM and open to the community at large.
Tenants Gordon Biersch, Hooters, The Cab and Star of Honolulu remain operational throughout construction. Also, HPU continues discussions with local and national retail, commercial and dining operators that have expressed an interest in becoming a tenant of the refreshed gathering space.
The ATM will be an exciting centerpiece of HPU’s downtown presence and will complement HPU’s existing sites in downtown Honolulu, Kāne‘ohe, and Waimānalo. The plan is guided by the university’s recently approved master plan and informed by the university’s strategic plan
What were the findings from the project's environmental assessment?
The environmental assessment for ATM found no significant impact to the environment from the construction of the marketplace interior and subsequent operation of the property. The assessment addresses the possible effects on surface, ground and coastal waters, along with air quality and wastewater service — all of which are anticipated to have no major short- or long-term impact. Additionally, due to the urban setting of the project and its surrounding areas, it is anticipated there will be a finding of no increased threats to endangered species of flora or fauna.
How will HPU minimize impact to nearby residents?
HPU is committed to mitigating disruption to the surrounding businesses and residents during construction. All construction work will conform to the noise permit requirements of the City Ordinance: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Barriers and barricades will be installed to keep the work site contained and safe. As construction occurs, patrons of existing tenants, as well as visitors to the Aloha Tower observation deck, have designated access points to the property.
Once the plan is complete, the resulting car traffic is not expected to increase. Over the years since ATM was originally developed, retail tenancy has steadily declined. HPU intends to retain retail tenants in an amount comparable to more recent occupancy. Students residing at ATM will not be permitted to have cars on site, so they will not impact traffic or parking availability. It is expected that pedestrian traffic by HPU students traveling to and from ATM and other downtown university sites will increase, but the majority of classes are scheduled after the morning rush hour and continue throughout the day and past the evening rush hour.
How will HPU create an atmosphere that benefits students and the community at large?
ATM is an important community place and borders the iconic Aloha Tower, the 87-year-old lighthouse that for years served as Honolulu’s “Statue of Liberty,” welcoming hundreds of thousands of immigrants to the island. HPU appreciates that history, and believes that redevelopment of the ATM site must make it a welcoming, inviting place for local residents and visitors of all ages.
HPU hopes to strengthen the community by providing a safe, respectful, family-friendly venue for local residents to have a wonderful meal, hear a concert and listen to world-class lectures on a range of topics. The new campus will help attract students from Hawai‘i and the world and the smart, environmentally sustainable design bringing new life to this much-beloved landmark, benefitting all of O‘ahu.
Many plans for ATM have failed throughout the years. We are working toward an environment that will sustain this plan for many years to come. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, HPU is in this for the long haul, and our planning and financial investment reflect that commitment.