Waikīkī’s Retail Transformation

Jan 17, 2020

Waikīkī has seen a lot of changes in recent years. That’s especially true for its retail scene — which has gone through a transformation in less than a decade. 

Since 2010, seven major developments have upgraded the face of retail in Waikīkī, including Hard Rock Café, the Victoria’s Secret-Sephora stores, Ritz-Carlton Residences, and not least of all, International Market Place.

This 21st-century wave of redevelopment really kicked off around 2007, when Outrigger Hospitality Group transformed a block of Lewers Street makai of Kalākaua Avenue into Waikīkī Beach Walk, and when Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center undertook a major renovation.

The transformation has brought in or enhanced retail brands at every price point. Hermes and Tiffany & Co. on the high end, but also Ross Dress for Less for budget shoppers and H&M for affordable fast fashion.

As a result, Kalākaua’s reputation as a shopping High Street ranks among the highest in terms of rent prices and prestige, right behind New York’s Fifth Avenue, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and Union Square in San Francisco. And Hawaiʻi is gaining ground. According to Andy Starn, vice president of retail at Cushman & Wakefield ChaneyBrooks, softening rents in Union Square and Chicago’s Michigan Avenue have Kalākaua ranked a solid fourth.

The commercial real estate experts PBN spoke with say that Kūhiō Avenue will benefit from the next wave of redevelopment, a process that has already begun with the opening of the Duke’s Lane Market & Eatery concept by ABC Stores and Michael Mina’s The Street food court concept at International Market Place.