Azure Ala Moana developer expects to top off tower by end of 2020

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The developer of the Azure Ala Moana project said construction of the $300 million mixed-use project has reached its top parking deck on the podium and will top off the 41-story tower by the end of this year.

Concrete for the eighth-floor parking deck was poured on Tuesday, with the ninth-floor recreation deck slated next before the tower for the residential units begins to rise at a rate of one floor per week, according to Rick Stack, executive vice president of Prospac Holdings Group.

The building is targeted for completion in the late summer or early fall of 2021, Stack said. Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. is the general contractor on the job.

Prospac recently hired Colliers International Hawaii to handle leasing for the 20,000 square feet of commercial space on the first and second floors, including a 5,370-square-foot anchor space on the ground floor and three spaces of 3,383, 3,844 and 4,192 square feet on the second floor.

“It’s going to be food and general retail for the most part,” he said. “We’re looking for sit-down restaurants on the second floor. We have escalator access going up to the second floor so we think that we’re suitable for that. The ground floor will be probably more quick-serve restaurant and retail.”

On the residential side, the building’s 330 market-priced one-, two- and three-bedroom units are 75% sold, Stack said. Nearly three quarters of the buyers are local, while the balance are from the Mainland, Japan and South Korea.

The bulk of the sales happened when the project first went on sale 18 months ago. Stack said he has not noticed any effect on sales from the coronavirus and said buyers haven’t been talking about it.

“It’s typical on any big project like this that when you launch sales, and you have the owner-occupant offering, that your pace of sales is much greater,” said Stack, who developed four towers when he was with Alexander & Baldwin. “And it tapers off after that, but now that we’re under construction and especially over the next year as the building looks more complete from the street ,when we start putting glass on the building and it starts to look more like a finished product, we’re confident that the rest of our units will sell.”

The Azure project is one of several happening in the Ala Moana transit-oriented development zone right now — SamKoo Hawaii’s Kapiolani Residence was completed a little more than a year ago and its second project, The Central, is under construction; JL Capital’s Sky Ala Moana condominium and hotel project is set to start construction this year; and the Mandarin Oriental Honolulu project recently started construction.

“A lot of our buyers come from this neighborhood, they’re move up buyers,” Stack said, noting the age of the surrounding buildings. “A lot of the owners here want to upgrade to something newer so they’re selling their older condo and making a more affordable unit available to the younger people.”

“Even though our prices are relatively high in the overall market segment, any housing helps our housing market at this point,” he said.

Article by Janis L. Magin for Pacific Business News