The Department of Permitting and Planning (DPP) will decide March 19 whether to allow the 350-foot tower (aka the “Tombstone”) planned at 2121 Kuhio Ave. in Waikiki to be built in a Diamond Head/‘Ewa orientation. This violates the Waikiki Special District Guidelines, which state that “The long axis of all new high-rise structures should be designed in a mauka-makai orientation.”
The project, branded Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki, will have 361 condotel units marketed to foreign investors. In 2006, the previous owner of the site planned to build a mauka/makai-oriented tower, which was approved by the City and the Neighborhood Board but never materialized due to the recession.
Over the last nine months, many individuals, along with the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends and Waikiki Residents Association, have presented letters and testimony to the City Council and DPP opposing the orientation. Concerns included that, if aligned parallel to the sea, the tower will block remaining ocean views for an entire block behind it on Launiu Street, and increase the shaded corridor effect on Kuhio. Opponents also expressed concern that, if the developers of this project are not required to change the orientation, it will set a precedent for more Sheraton-type walls in the future.
Visit the website [2121KuhioTower.com] for more info.