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Paradise, Hawaiian Style in Oahu Development

Howard Hughes Corp. is redeveloping a coastal tract in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood. The Ward Village...

Between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, one of the last available parcels for coastal redevelopment in urban Oahu is undergoing a transformation.

The shift from a low-density shopping and industrial area to a mixed-use living and public-park space marks one of Honolulu’s biggest urban growth spurts since the 1990s. Howard Hughes Corp., HHC 1.31 % which is also renovating Manhattan’s South Street Seaport district, is redeveloping a 60-acre tract in the Kakaako neighborhood into a community that will feature an estimated 5,000 condominium units across potentially more than 20 towers over the next decade.

The real-estate development company has brought on renowned architects such as Richard Meier, the designer of Los Angeles’s Getty Center, and attracted anchor tenants including the Japanese-Peruvian Nobu restaurant, which will be relocating from Waikiki. The estimated $6 billion to $10 billion development will also feature a 4-acre public park that will try to mimic features such as natural springs and man-made ponds that used to dot the area more than a century ago, when it was a plantation for crops such as coconut and taro.

“There will be an opportunity to take what’s now a lot of surface parking lots and asphalt and turn it into a green and people-friendly place,” said Nicholas Vanderboom, a senior vice president for development at Howard Hughes who is leading the Ward Village master plan.

Howard Hughes acquired the land in 2010 as part of a spinoff from General Growth Properties Inc., GGP 1.74 % which was emerging from bankruptcy at the time. Now called Ward Village, the property had long been owned by the descendants of Victoria Ward, who was descended from Hawaiian royalty and rose to prominence as a...