July 25, 2014 | Source: bizjournals.com

Group 70’s Tahiti Nui

It’s being called the Tahiti Mahana Beach Resorts and Spa, but it’s about so much more than beachfront relaxation.

For the people of Tahiti, it’s an economic shot in the arm, a 130-acre project in Punaauia, near Papeete, that includes a 500,000-square-foot shopping mall, condos, convention center, casino, office space, movie theaters, bowling alley, parks and promenades, all for local use, as well as hotels ranging from three- to six-star.

It’s a $3 billion construction job to build and, as PBN reported online this week, Honolulu architecture firm Group 70 International beat out 76 international competitors for the chance to design — and oversee the construction of — the entire project.

With a design fee at 7 percent of construction costs, or $210 million, it’s the single-largest contract Group 70 has ever landed, according to Chairman Francis Oda, who just returned from Tahiti with the news on Sunday. Other projects, such as Group 70’s master planning of two entire cities in Indonesia, may add up to more revenue over time, but the Tahiti job is the firm’s single-biggest contract.

To put the size of it in context, the total annual billings on PBN’s list of Hawaii’s 25 largest architecture firms add up to about $125 million.

If everything goes according to plan, you can fly to Tahiti to see it in its finished glory in six years.

Meanwhile, Group 70’s intention is to share that $210 million fee with as many Hawaii and Tahiti-based firms and specialists as possible, in addition to the necessary international subcontractors.

“Our goal, the French Polynesian government’s goal, is a project that builds the economy of Tahiti in a lasting way,” Oda said. “And we want to include Hawaii firms as much as possible.” (See Page 14 story on other confirmed local businesses brought in to the project.)

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