June 10, 2015 | Source: khon2.com

Hawaii Pacific University turns Aloha Tower into residential community

Construction is almost finished on Hawaii Pacific University’s $50 million project at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

HPU is turning the iconic site into rooms for hundreds of students. There’s also going to be a bookstore and restaurants.

Behind the construction barriers is a new community that will be unveiled this summer.

The university gave us a sneak peek at one of the rooms located on the second floor of the marketplace, a five-person waterfront loft.

Complete with a living space, kitchenette, bathrooms and bedrooms, HPU officials says it’s bigger than the typical dorm room.

“There are beds and workstations and wardrobes are here as well. This particular unit has a view of the Diamond Head side,” said Marites McKee, dean of students.

For the past year, crews have been turning this landmark into 74 housing units for 278 students who will move in on August 24.

The cost ranges from about $3,500 a semester to $14,000 a year, depending on the room type.

The HPU lofts at Aloha Tower are about 75 percent complete. Officials hope it will be an anchor for the university as well as for the community.

There will also be educational spaces for students and local groups.

“We will have not only classroom programs in there for our students, but we welcome the neighborhood board,” said Sam Moku, university relations vice president.

“Did you get some kind of negative comment or negative feedback about turning this into a dormitory?” KHON2 asked.

“I think because we are on public lands, we want to make sure we use it and steward these public lands properly,” Moku said.

Barnes and Noble College, which is smaller than the regular bookstore, will be located on the bottom floor, and Hooters, Gordon Biersch and Star of Honolulu will remain as tenants.

More restaurants will fill the space at Aloha Tower and officials will announce the new tenants within the next two weeks.


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