Photos: Courtesy of Olivier Koning
UPDATE: DEMOLISHED IN 2014
Fisherman’s Wharf building makes way for redevelopment
Article Courtesy of: http://www.oha.org/news/fishermans-wharf-building-makes-way-redevelopment
HONOLULU (Nov. 20, 2014) – The vacant building that Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant used to occupy on Ala Moana Boulevard in Kaka‘ako Makai was demolished today in favor of new opportunities that would benefit Native Hawaiians.
Demolition crews with Waipio-based North Star Contracting Group Inc. took less than a month to tear down the dilapidated 10,000-square-feet building, which was built around 1940.
The demolition project called for salvaging the two iconic restaurant signs that used to grace the roof of the building as well as a free-standing restaurant sign at ground level and incorporating them into the future redevelopment of the site, which is part of 30 acres the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has owned in Kaka‘ako Makai since August 2012.
For private investors and others who have previously expressed interest in the property, the building became too cost-prohibitive to renovate. In fact, the demolition project was a direct response to health and safety concerns stemming from the building, which became infested with termites and rats after sitting empty for a few years.
The demolition project also comes at a time when OHA is drawing up a master plan focused on fulfilling the potential for its properties in Kaka‘ako Makai to generate revenue that could support the agency’s efforts to fund community-based programs aimed at improving conditions for Native Hawaiians.
LISTED AS ENDANGERED IN 2013
Article Written By: Victoria Wiseman, HONOLULU Magazine
What is it?
Fisherman’s Wharf is typical of roadside, or pop, architecture, the likes of which you’d see along Route 66—motels, souvenir shops, even the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign with its starbursts and distinctive lettering.
The restaurant opened in the 1940s as a single-story building; a second story was later added, giving it a boat-like appearance. “One of the features of roadside architecture is that it’s so flashy and exuberant, it catches your eye, so it becomes a sign for itself,” says Mike Gushard, an architectural historian at the state Historic Preservation Division (SHPD). “I think it’s interesting because it’s tacky. It’s tiki culture, which is a legitimate expression of culture.”
What threatens it?
The building may be too expensive to save. Accounts vary, but it seems that the restaurant has been shuttered since 2009. In 2010, it looked like the venue might be revived when the owners of Pizza Bob’s on the North Shore took over the lease.
“Their estimates were $1 million to rehab the building. Ultimately, it would have been $3 million,” says Anthony Ching of the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA), the landowners at that time. “It needs new grease traps and the plumbing runs down the center of the [cement] pad, they would have to dig up the interior of the building to fix it. And the second floor isn’t ADA-compliant, they’d have to build an elevator to the second floor,” he says. But there are still good bones to the building, according to Ching, especially on the bottom floor and bar area.
What can be done?
Just last year, the parcel of land including Fisherman’s Wharf was transferred to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). Says Garett Kamemoto, a spokesman for OHA: “The planning process is ongoing, and we’ll potentially be looking at it by next summer.”
That means if historic properties in the area are important, there will be a public hearing and commenting phase through the HCDA. “The public can have a role in shaping the plan,” Faulkner says.