High Expectations

For KakaÊ»ako’s future residents, it seems the only way to go is up.

Part two in HILuxury’s four-part luxury Honolulu condo series

The Collection is predominantly designed for local residents looking for an urban pedestrian component to their island lifestyle. Set for completion in late 2016, this A&B Properties development will add 465 new residential units to Kakaʻako.

The Collection’s five different buildings are a mix of retail and residential, with townhomes, lofts and a condo tower, called The Tower, featuring retail on the ground floor.

“This is an entire city block,” explains project architect Jeff Renterghem. “There are actually five buildings of different scale and use. Our retail will be on a small, neighborhood scale: not big box. It will be a mixed-use neighborhood. The color of the glass tint on the tower is rich, and provides a small amount of reflectivity. It’s a tower with a calm footprint, and an emphasis on street-level design elements.”

The Tower is currently rising on a spot that was once a gathering place for Native Hawaiians, a historical detail its designers wanted to refer to in the buildings’ sensibility.

“In the past, that piece of land had salt ponds,” explains Holly Boling Ruiz of Philpotts Interiors. “It was a fishing community. We wanted to make sure we tied back to the history of the land, and this place, that this new community would be living in—and that we translated it in a way that was familiar, yet with a more architectural and contemporary palette.”

The Philpotts team incorporated the colors and textures of that ancient community throughout the Tower’s interiors.

“The woven baskets Hawaiians would use to fish, or crafts they would make, were a starting point for the pattern in walls or floor coverings. We used the white color of salt, the charcoal gray of a rock wall, ambers and siennas, as a subtle reminder, a subconscious connection when people come in to the lobby of the land and culture of the area.”

Compared to many of the luxury projects underway in KakaÊ»ako, this project offered a competitive price point. In The Tower, prices ranged from the high $300,000’s for a one bedroom, to the low $1,000,000’s for a three bedroom. Remaining two bedroom units are priced at roughly $600,000. In The Lofts, they started in the mid $300,000’s for a studio loft, to the high $500,000’s for a two bedroom.

The building’s designers needed to balance cost with good design through strict attention to detail.


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“It’s a challenge building something on OÊ»ahu,” Renterghem notes. “You have to use every piece of material that arrives on site to hit these price points. You need to have that understanding from day one, and provide that message in all the designs. The one-, two- and three-bedroom units within the condominium tower are sized more for the local [rather] than the seasonal market. The efficiently designed units are modern, working family pieces carefully balanced in design.”

Renterghem noted that, while A&B wanted to keep the price point moderate as compared to many of the luxury offerings in Kakaʻako, they wanted to make sure each unit had outdoor lanais and individual AC units. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool and recreational deck on the 7th floor, cooking grills, a common area kitchen and party room, fitness and yoga rooms, and cabanas, which can be booked for owners for private events in an outdoor space.

“The amenity deck is both interior and exterior,” Ruiz says. “The interior space is the club room. It is multifunctional with a back kitchen and a butler’s kitchen that can be used by a caterer. The front area has an informal dining bar to have people over for dinner: a bar space, tables and chairs for playing cards for having a party.”

“It was very strategic not to have this building have so many amenities that the maintenance fees are crazy,” Ruiz notes. “It came down to, ‘What do you really need?'”

The building’s planners wanted to insure that residents also had a chance to connect with each other on the amenity deck, as well as in the lobby itself.

“They wanted to create places for people to gather, and lounge spaces to meet your friends. There’s a great opportunity in public spaces for it to be an opportunity for connection,” Ruiz says. “It’s much more than just your unit. In their lobby, we have a mailroom, created so it will be an integral part of the lobby. We have a high bar counter next to it, so you can sit on bar stools and check your email or do your work, almost like a library and a place to gather. In the front lobby, we put large punees, so people have a spot to hang out and read the paper, or meet your friends. There are three or four different areas for people to connect.”

Asked if this was a challenge, compared to the high luxury projects Philpotts has become renowned for, Ruiz says the price limitations were, in fact, an inspiration.

“I love projects that we’re not given free reign, when you have to be really creative and really thoughtful about choice of materials; it really makes you decisive.”

548-0260 or thecollectionhonolulu.com

Photos courtesy The Collection

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