What advice do you have for young real estate developers?
Development is about looking for ways to bring positive change to communities. From buildings you create to places you activate to ways you give back, development by nature means something is always in flux.
My advice for young real estate developers is to engage in the community you are serving. The more involved you are, the better you understand its needs. Since development is about creating places that enrich lives, this will enable you to address the benefits of the community you are working with.
It’s also important to work for a company with a larger purpose. Ward Village is committed to giving back, and we do this as a company through our Ward Village Foundation. Since its inception in 2014, Ward Village has donated over $2 million to local environmental, educational and cultural organizations and nonprofits. We also support company and individual volunteer opportunities as well as host free community events. As someone who was born and raised in Hawai‘i, it’s meaningful to see Hawaiian culture and history preserved and celebrated.
What is your perspective on the changing Honolulu skyline?
The changing Honolulu skyline is one of the most exciting renaissances of urban development happening around the globe right now. It’s exciting to be involved in such a transformative venture. In the span of a few years, we are moving from a situation where hundreds of thousands of people had no alternative option but drive into town for work or leisure to one where numerous housing opportunities are available in the urban core.
I am proud we are conducting the revitalization of Ward Village in a way that is sustainable and an efficient use of land. Our 60-acre master-planned community is a relatively small region that had existing infrastructure and amenities already in place.
A changing skyline also means a sustained increase in construction jobs for years to come as well as a general sense of increased valuation for the entire neighborhood.
What industry trends to you see unfolding in Hawai‘i?
A focus on environmentally friendly development, pedestrian-centric design and communal amenities.
Ward Village was awarded LEED for Neighborhood Development Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, the highest rating possible in a credential system that integrates principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building.
In addition to eco-conscious architecture, Ward Village is Honolulu’s first urban-core community designed for you to leave your car behind and walk or bike to eat, shop or play. Wide sidewalks, shady trees and dedicated bike lanes offer an improved neighborhood experience as well as increased safety, convenience and access, regardless of your mode of transportation.
Neighborhood amenities that promote health, happiness and well-being is another trend rooted in strengthening the connection between people and the places they inhabit. This year, Ward Village will begin construction of the Central Plaza, an open park space that will serve as a gathering place for friends, families and community events.
How do you balance innovation and cultural sensitivity in a place like Hawai‘i?
We could not develop Ward Village without the collaboration of our cultural advisors, stakeholders, community groups and leadership within the city and state. In-house, we have a talented team committed to realizing high aspirations for Ward Village—ones that are prideful of our past while looking forward to a bright future for Honolulu.