The Honolulu City Council has already approved the Ritz-Carlton to build two towers on its Waikiki property, but the second tower is not a done deal yet.
Those for and against the 2139 Kuhio Avenue project made their case before a final decision.
“The project will create an estimated 600 construction and building trade jobs,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam of Hawaii Construction Alliance.
Countless revisions later, the developers for 2139 Kuhio Avenue presented glossy new renderings at Friday's Department of Planning and Permitting and addressed the big issues they say are juicing naysayers.
“There's already a two-faced attitude being brought forth between the city and the community on what the project is and just kind of sliding it in,” said Eric Gill of Unite Here Local 5.
“We've seen the evolution and believe as the project stands today is a very good one,” said Cindy McMiller of Pacific Resource Partnership.
The Ritz Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach at 2121 Kuhio Avenue broke ground last August. The 350 foot tower is already above Wakiki's height limits.
Another structure at 2139 Kuhio would be its sister that would be equal in height, but smaller in footprint.
The latest modification separates the two towers by more than 75 feet, adds more open space to be shared with the public and includes a grocery store, park, cafe and maybe even a malasada stand.
But opponents focused on a lack or maybe even reduction in parking and plan with possible ulterior motives. One former Ikikai hotel worker says she’s watched as work and jobs disappeared as planners transformed hotel rooms into condos.
“I am living proof that this is can be a really dangerous thing for the community in the long term,” said Joli Tokusato, a former Ilikai Hotel employee.
“We have to be clear and sure of what we are doing,” said Gill.
A final decision for the second tower is expected on July 14.
As it stands, there is also a pending lawsuit against the construction of the first tower at 2121 Kuhio Avenue.
Click here to see the renderings.