- Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Health care providers working in the Ala Moana Building in Honolulu say they worry future development plans for the high-rise building may chase them out.

No tenants in the building have been allowed a lease beyond 2020, leaving some concerned they will be forced to move, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://bit.ly/1j1SSRt).

General Growth Properties has made no announcements about its future plans for the building.

“GGP has no current plans beyond completing the Ala Moana Center Ewa wing expansion and the development of Park Lane Ala Moana,” Ala Moana General Manager Francis Cofran said.

Still, the Council Zoning Committee on Thursday approved a resolution asking the mayor’s administrator to initiate a bill that would insert language into the land use ordinance making health care services a priority in development plans being made in advance of the city’s rail project.

Three dentists with offices in the tower told committee members the building houses the most dental offices in the state. More than a dozen other medical care providers or their patients also submitted letters in favor of the resolution.

Dr. Dean Sueda, a pediatric dentist, said the Ala Moana Building’s location is ideal because it’s halfway between Waikiki and downtown and along a major bus hub, making it easy for patients to access.

“With the rail, I think that would really help out a lot,” Sueda said, but only if he and other medical practitioners are allowed to stay.

City planning director George Atta said short of expressing a preference in the land use ordinance for medical care facilities in transit-oriented areas, there isn’t much the city can do to stop a property owner from developing anything allowed by zoning.

“We recognize that these kinds of services are part of the entire ‘live, work, play’ package that (transit-oriented development) is trying to enhance in the urban environment,” Atta said, but added that what General Growth decides to do with the Ala Moana Building is “really a tenant-lessee kind of thing.”

The resolution now goes to the full City Council for a final vote.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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