Grand Lanai Level featuring a century-old banyan tree in the background. (Taubman)

Type: Commercial: leisure/entertainment, retail
Uses: Retail, restaurant, entertainment, open space, surface parking
Developer: Taubman Centers Inc.
Designers: 505 Design; JPRA Architects; WCIT Architects; HLB Lighting; Walters, Kimura, Motoda Inc.; BKBC Architects
Size: 5.98 acres (2.4 ha)
Date acquired: August 2013
Date started: March 2014
Date opened: August 2016

Land uses:

  • Buildings: 343,000 square feet (31,866 sq m)
  • Street/parking: None
  • Total: 260,489 square feet (24,200 sq m)

International Market Place in Waikiki has been a landmark for nearly 60 years. The re-imagining of the original International Market Place has breathed new life into the beloved development. Today, it is home to shopping, dining, and entertainment, including Hawaii’s first Saks Fifth Avenue department store. Centered on a century-old banyan tree, the new International Market Place was designed with the site’s history and Hawaiian culture in mind.

The design team sought cultural guidance from local consultants, who suggested excavating the piles ahead of time in order to assess or attend to any objects or remains found. Digital mapping of the tree ensured that construction would not damage its complex root system.

The cultural sensitivity extended to the completed project, too, with educational and discovery panels placed around the Market Place so visitors can learn about the history of the site and Hawaii.

Visitors can take a self-guided tour via their smartphones using the 25 plaques placed around the site. Furthermore, the landowner—the Queen Emma Land Company—donates revenue from the site to the nonprofit Queen’s Medical Center.

The Market Place was designed with sustainability in mind, reducing energy and water consumption and encouraging tenants to follow green building guidelines. The International Market Place has been a popular landmark for decades and will continue to be for decades to come.

The project’s front door, featuring the signature fire tower. (Mariko)

This article is one of 11 highlighting this year’s winners of the ULI Global Awards for Excellence.