Waikiki experiences retail transformation over a decade

HONOLULU — Waikiki has gone through a transformation in less than a decade with seven major developments that have upgraded the face of shopping in the famous Oahu district.

The additions to the Honolulu neighborhood have included Hard Rock Café, the Victoria’s Secret-Sephora stores, Ritz-Carlton Residences, and International Market Place, Hawaii Public Radio reported Friday.

A wave of redevelopment began around 2007 when Outrigger Hospitality Group transformed a city block near Waikiki Beach Walk, while Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center also undertook a major renovation.

The area’s transformation brought in or enhanced retail brands at every price point, from Hermes and Tiffany & Co. on the high end, H&M for affordable fashion and Ross Dress for Less catering to budget shoppers.

The rental prices and prestige of Waikiki’s Kalakaua Avenue now rank closely behind behind New York’s Fifth Avenue, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and Union Square in San Francisco, public radio reported.

Softening rents in Union Square and Chicago’s Michigan Avenue have left Kalakaua ranked fourth as a shopping area, said Andy Starn, vice president of retail at Cushman & Wakefield ChaneyBrooks property management company in Honolulu.

Honolulu’s Kuhio Avenue, running parallel to east of Kalakaua Avenue, is expected to be the next area to benefit from redevelopment, commercial real estate experts said.

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