November 21, 2013
Construction Gets Going on Condo Tower
By Andrew Gomes
There have been several different high-rise building ideas for the mauka-Ewa corner of Kapiolani Boulevard and Ward Avenue, but none progressed to construction — until now. A San Diego-based developer held a groundbreaking ceremony and blessing Wednesday at the site of its planned 45-story condominium tower named Symphony Honolulu. The project by OliverMcMillan, in partnership with local car retailer JN Automotive Group, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016. Sales for 288 of 388 units began in July at prices from $500,000 to about $3 million, and to date about 200 units have been sold. Another 100 units reserved for buyers with moderate incomes began in September, and about 40 of those units have been sold. Project officials thanked numerous people who helped Symphony Honolulu get off the ground, and promised a special building with condo units above a luxury, exotic car dealership featuring brands including Ferrari, Bentley, Maserati and Lamborghini. "This will be a great symphony,"said Glen Kaneshige, president of project contractor Nordic PCL Construction. "Let the music begin." Mayor Kirk Caldwell recalled how the site had initially been slated for a condo tower more than 20 years ago. "Many of us can think back to the days when Jack Myers bought this property,"he said. Myers, a local developer, bought the property in 1990 and planned a luxury condo tower called Symphony Park. It was envisioned as a "gateway" to an arts and culture district, including the Neal Blaisdell Center and the then-Academy of Arts. A languishing economy led Myers to turn the plan into a high-rise retirement community in 1997, but two years later he sold the site to another local developer, The MacNaughton Group, which considered a possible retail or condo project. JNAutomotive, led by Joe Nicolai, bought the property in 2000 with an idea for a residential tower, then embraced a vision to develop an office tower branded with a World Trade Center franchise before partnering with OliverMcMillan.