January 1991 Home   Newsletters

February 1991

March 1991

Charter Review and the Public (Jean Aoki)
Balance of Service (Marilyn Bornhorst)
Viewpoint (Arlene Ellis)
Women at the Peace Table (Ruth W. Iams)
Proposed Budget FY 1991-92
Ala Wai Community and Convention Center (Queen Emma Foundation)
Committee Nominates Slate of Directors for Honolulu League
Action Alert
Guide to Ethics in Municipal Government (W. Edwin Sumner)
Your Opinion Matters
Thank You (Anne Parton)
Membership Column

Ala Wai Community and Convention Center

As an alternative to the high-rise Center planned for the International Market Place, The Queen Emma Foundation is suggesting a low-rise facility to be located across the Ala Wai Canal beneath the Ala Wai Golf Course. As a primary advocate for the creation of a long-range Master Plan to revitalize Waikiki, The Queen Emma Foundation has consistently expressed its opposition to development of a large Convention Center in the heart of Waikiki, favoring instead a moderately sized conference center. Because there were very substantial differences and after considering the concerns and needs expressed by others - need for large Center, walking distance, etc. - the Foundation embarked on studies to design a plan which would accommodate as many of these concerns as possible, but without the adverse impacts of a Center in the heart of Waikiki. The resulting proposal is offered by the Foundation not from a position of advocacy, but one of advancement of an alternative for others to consider as a compromise.

The Center's convention facilities would be housed in a low-rise building under the golf course. The design concept would allow for construction of a small Conference Center or, if necessary, a Convention Center as large as that proposed for the International Market Place. The building would be covered atop and on three sides so the golf course could be built over the Center, with only the makai side open and visible to the public as a Convention Center. This complex would be connected to Waikiki by a bridge over the Ala Wai Canal opposite Nahua Street.

Parking for a many as 2000 automobiles would be provided for on one underground level. A number of options are available for car and truck ingress and egress which would allow these vehicles to remain outside of Waikiki and other residential neighborhoods. The primary route would be a direct connection to H-1 Freeway from an off ramp and road extending makai from the freeway over the Manoa Palolo drainage canal. Other roads, if desired to further defuse the traffic, could permit access from Kapahulu Avenue, Date Street, Ala Wai Boulevard and, by an extension of the existing street, to University Avenue. These other roads need not, however, be used.

K. Tim Yee, President and CEO of the Foundation, said of the plan: "We remain convinced that a moderately sized conference facility is the only appropriate type of development for the crowded Waikiki area. To accommodate many of the concerns expressed to us by others, we have developed an alternative to the massive, high-rise Center envisioned in Act 96 for the International Market Place. The proposed location is not new but the design is.

"The Center, as conceived, would be within a few minutes walk of the International Market Place site with its nearby hotels. It could be made large enough not only to accommodate major conventions in a single-level exhibition hall but also to provide a community center with entertainment and recreational amenities for local residents and tourists. The Center would not increase truck and automobile traffic in Waikiki, tax the already-overburdened infrastructure, block view planes nor interfere with a Master Planned design and redevelopment of Waikiki.

"From an economic standpoint, the Center would not present the problems associated with an attempt to build a `free' Center at the International Market Place. There would be no need to grant the zoning, height and density concessions which accompany a `free' center. Because the site is on government-owned land, it is possible that it could be funded by some portion of the Transient Accommodations Tax and issuance of tax-free bonds and be financeable in the U.S., obviating the need for foreign financing which may not, in any event, be available. The facility's efficient design, with the exhibition space on one floor at ground level, directly accessible to trucks for setups and takedowns, would result in lower construction and operating costs than would be possible with a high-rise facility built in the middle of Waikiki. The operation of the Center could possibly be `privatized'. Revenues from parking and commercial areas could supplement convention revenues to create a self-supporting complex that would eliminate ongoing government subsidies.

"Finally, far from restricting the size or the quality of the existing golf course, it would add significantly to its attractiveness by providing several acres of contoured greens and fairways that would add appreciably to the challenge presented by the existing course. It also appears that with temporary relocation of some holes, the Center could be constructed as conceived while offering continued play throughout the construction period.

"It must be emphasized that this plan is conceptual only. It is simply a suggestion for an alternative design and location that can be introduced into the process of master planning Waikiki."

Queen Emma Foundation

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