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The SALT at Our Kakaʻako mural, by KSK alumni Matt Ortiz and his wife Roxy, on Keawe Street uses abstract shapes in blues and greens to represent the ocean, salt, farming and industry of the area’s historical past.

Our Kaka 'ako comes to life - 2016 update

Jan. 22, 2016

Contributed by Aron Dote

Exciting things are happening in Kaka‘ako. Walk the streets of Our Kaka‘ako today and you’ll see that it’s a major site for redevelopment activity. Centrally located along Ala Moana Boulevard and minutes from downtown Honolulu, Our Kaka‘ako is evolving. Where industrial warehouses once stood, now grows a future diverse community. 

Reaching this milestone has been six years in the making. The 15-year Our Kaka‘ako master plan – which entitled residential and commercial development on nine of KS’ Kaka‘ako ma uka land parcels –  was approved by the Hawaii Community Development Authority in September 2009.

“For those of us who have been working on this project since the beginning – from the public hearings, HCDA’s approval and through construction – watching Our Kaka‘ako come to fruition has been gratifying and exciting,” said Bob Oda, senior project manager in the Commercial Real Estate Division. 

“It is what we envisioned.  It is local, community-focused and tied to education.  And it’s not a cookie-cutter project; it is unique to this place.”

The following details the dynamic new changes underway in the Our Kakaʻako community:

SALT at Our Kakaʻako
The construction of SALT at Our Kaka‘ako, a hub for the growing community to gather, is nearing completion, and eateries and retail shops will soon open their doors. The name SALT pays homage to the salt ponds that dotted the area in ancient times.

The block – bordered by Keawe, Auahi and Coral streets – has a fresh new look, yet is reminiscent of its working-class roots. Building facades are covered in corrugated metal and wood paneling. The majority of the area’s original structures still stand but have been updated, refinished, and brought to code.

Additional Parking
One of the area’s new buildings is a 300-stall parking structure built to accommodate the growing demand for parking.

Each level in the new parking garage has a Hawaiian name and depicts outdoor sports popular in Hawai‘i. The fifth floor is ‘Elima and shows a silhouette of a bike, against a green background. Text on the wall reads “bike riding, holo paikikala.”

Urban Art
Art at SALT will reflect Hawaiian themes and will honor the area’s history, as well as KS founder Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.  Kaka‘ako artist and KS Kapālama graduate Matt Ortiz and his wife Roxy designed and installed a mural on Keawe Street that uses abstract shapes in blues and greens to represent the ocean, salt, farming and industry.

Calling Kakaʻako Home
Our Kaka‘ako will welcome more than 1,200 new residents over the next two years. Four residential projects are also underway on the surrounding blocks. The concrete shells of the buildings offer hints of their finished forms.

KS’ second reserve rental project is near completion. Construction crews have already topped off the building’s six floors. The 88 units will be available for rent in the spring, and will be priced for working singles, and families earning household incomes equivalent to Honolulu’s median.

Residential projects by developers Alexander & Baldwin, Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii and Stanford Carr Development are also in various stages of construction. The first of those residential projects, 400 Keawe and will soon be ready for homeowners to move in and call Kaka‘ako home. This mixed-use project at the corner of Keawe and Auahi streets will have nearly 100 two- and three-bedroom condo units.

The Collection sits at the former Comp USA site and the project has gone vertical with nearly half of the 43-story tower completed, while the four-story mid-rise townhomes are receiving paint and final touches.

At South and Keawe streets, Keauhou Lane, a Stand ford Carr development broke ground late last year. It includes 388 residential units in a 400-foot tower, along with 35 townhome units in a 42-foot mid-rise tower.

Oregon-based developer Gerding Edlen will soon break ground on the adjoining lot with KS in a limited partnership for a 209-unit rental housing project.

For more information, visit

The Quonset hut warehouses on Auahi Street have

Hankʻs Haute Dogs began selling gourmet hot dogs in Kakaʻako in 2007. The restaurant moved to a new location in October 2015.

KS’ reserve rental housing project, will include 88 units including studio, one-bedroom loft, and three-bedroom units. It’s slated to open late this year.

Stanford Carr Development is building Keauhou Place on a former South Street parking lot. It connects to HARTʻs planned City Center transit stop

The ma kai view from Auahi and Keawe streets where Alexander & Baldwin is building The Collection.

KS remains committed to Kakaʻako after the recent withdrawal of the MacNaughton Group and Kobayashi Group’s residential project, Vida at 888 Ala Moana.

Not all buildings in Our Kakaʻako will be tall. Castle & Cooke's 400 Keawe structure will be only 65 feet tall.

A Butler-style warehouse building was torn down to accommodate the new SALT parking structure and a similar building was constructed in its place.

The floors in the parking garage at SALT at Our Kakaʻako are marked with images of ocean and land sports and are numbered in Hawaiian.


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