Ward Village | Ask the Expert

Todd Apo, VP, Community Development, The Howard Hughes Corporation | Sept. 14, 2017

Can you give us an update on the status of your towers? Can you quickly summarize where you are as far as the development of the master plan?

While we’ve made tremendous progress, our work to create a vibrant, new kind of community at Ward Village offering the perfect mix of urban and island living is still in its early development stages. Now that Waiea and Nobu have opened, we look forward to welcoming more new residents when Ahana opens at Ward Village in October.  Ae’o will follow in 2018 and Ke Kilohana in 2019.  ‘A’ali’i, which was approved this year, will start its sales, with the goal of breaking ground early next year.  As our master-planned development moves towards Ward Avenue, Ward Village will continue to evolve.

For me, the most rewarding part is seeing the Ward Village community truly coming to life. It’s become THE place to go, and is positively buzzing with energy and activity. The art scene here is world-class. I love taking a stroll along Auahi Street by Anaha and South Shore Market, which is now a cool, tree-covered, pedestrian-friendly experience. I can ride my bike to meetings and walk to lunch. Many of my colleagues simply walk across the street after work to take a sunset swim or surf a few sets.

By every measurement, Ward Village is emerging as a truly authentic, dynamic, healthy, island-style community that offers what so many local families and individuals are looking for.

What are some of the advantages for residences or homebuyers living in a master planned community like Ward Village as opposed to another neighborhood in town?

Convenience.  Less time in the car, more time with your family and friends.  Fantastic restaurants, shopping and entertainment – Nobu, Scratch, Piggy Smalls, Big City Diner, D&B, South Shore Market, Norstom’s Rack, Whole Foods Market, Longs and more – all within easy walking distance.

Living at Ward Village also means that outdoor movies, Hawaiian entertainment, yoga, and our much-beloved annual “Holiday Ice Rink” are all at your doorstep.  Plus, you’re just a short walk or bike ride away from Ala Moana Beach Park, Kewalo Harbor, the Blaisdell Center, and Ala Moana Center.

Ward Village also incorporates art - from sculptures to wall murals to water features and more -  throughout the entire community, showcasing both world-renowned and emerging local artists too. There are traditional Hawaiian motifs everywhere. Our dedication to creating a place that is beautiful as well as culturally-authentic is another important element that sets Ward Village apart.

But Ward Village is not only a great place to live, it’s nationally recognized as being good for the environment too. With the entire community receiving the highest level of LEED (leadership and energy in environmental design) certification, Ward Village is setting the standard in smart, sustainable design and greener infrastructure and healthier environments.

We were humbled and proud when Architectural Digest recently called Ward Village one of the best-planned communities in the US. We believe our deep commitment to protecting Hawai‘i’s precious environment is another reason why people are choosing to live in Ward Village.

What does Howard Hughes think about when designing the layout and finish of the units?

Years of careful planning and design, historical and cultural research, customer feedback and community listening went into the development of our master plan for the area. This incredible level of care and attention to detail is evident in every aspect of the Ward Village master plan - from the streetscapes and building architecture, to the layout and finishes of the homes.

We spent countless hours analyzing what each group of owners was looking for in his or her perfect home.  For example, our newest residence, ʻAʻaliʻi, offers studios, one- and two- bedrooms homes equipped with space-saving features to create a flexible interior living space.  With cutting-edge designs and the latest technology, ʻAʻaliʻi will offer what many young, first-time buyers are looking for in a living space that matches their lifestyle.

While the home layouts and finishes vary in each of our buildings, every Ward Village home has one thing in common: all have been thoughtfully designed by the best architects and interior design teams from throughout the world and Hawaii.

How does the Hawai‘i real estate market compare to other markets where Howard Hughes has similar product types and/or master planned communities?

Each of our communities throughout the country is designed to reflect the unique characteristics of the area. Creating timeless places and extraordinary experiences is something we strive to do in every development we undertake.

Here in Honolulu, our goal is to create a first-of-its-kind community, one that will attract kama’aina while being recognized as one of the best master-planned communities in the world.

We know that Hawaii is a place like no other and we take seriously our responsibility to develop the land in a way that respects, honors and celebrates all that makes our island home so special.

The 60 acres of land comprising Ward Village provides us with a unique opportunity to honor the past as we develop for the future.  We feel an obligation to tell the stories of this land and to ensure that every chapter of its rich and storied history – from when Hawaiians threw nets from the shoreline, to when Victoria Ward made her home here – is thoughtfully expressed throughout Ward Village. Every detail – from the use of local materials like lava stone, to featuring Hawaiian motifs on the floors and walls of the buildings and outdoor spaces – all underscore Ward Village’s deep sense of place as a one-of-a-kind community in Hawai‘i.

As real estate developers in Hawai‘i, we also recognize the need to increase the supply of homes, while protecting open spaces and approaching development in the “right” way. This understanding of the need and responsibility to protect and preserve Hawai‘i’s precious natural resources has been our guiding principal in designing the masterplan for Ward Village.

What are some big national trends in condo living that are making their way to Hawai‘i?

A significant trend that’s happening across the country is the movement of people of all ages from the country back into the city.  Urban living is becoming more and more popular as new, city-centered communities provide a more convenient, dynamic and even healthier lifestyle that better fits today’s buyers.

Another prominent national trend we are seeing surface here in Hawaii is the demand for more dynamic, flexible interior living spaces. These new spaces defy the traditional notion of what a home should be like and responds to a growing desire to leading a more experiential life.

Our newest tower - ʻAʻaliʻi – is designed to meet that demand, offering a collection of modern, lifestyle-enhancing amenities and cutting-edge technology. We’re excited to see this trend catch on in Hawai‘i. When you live in paradise, you want your home to keep up with your active lifestyle.