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Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company Building: GC to the rescue

Hawaii’s largest contractor saves one of the state’s prized architectural landmarks—and now calls it home.

November 30, 2018 |
The distinctive Beaux Arts building

The distinctive Beaux Arts building, once home to Honolulu’s biggest daily newspaper, is now the headquarters of the contractor firm that restored it. Photo: © 2017 David Franzen.

Once home to the Honolulu Advertiser—the city’s largest daily—this 1929 Beaux Arts–style building has been a landmark in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood for nearly 90 years. The three-story structure features a distinctive mint-green terra cotta exterior, Spanish-tile hipped roof, and twin roof towers. It is listed on both the National Register and the State Register of Historic Places.

In the 1990s, the owner, Gannett Pacific, put the property on the market. There it would sit for seven years, during which it was designated a Most Endangered Site by the Historic Hawaii Foundation.

In 2012, developer Downtown Capital purchased the 3.7-acre property for $22 million with plans for two condo towers sandwiching a large parking structure.

The condo development, 801 South Street, was completed in 2015 (Tower A) and 2017 (Tower B). The two-story printing press shop had to be demolished, but the main historic structure was still somewhat intact. It was in bad shape, with no solid plans for its next life.

By chance, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, the contractor for 801 South Street, was looking for a new headquarters. The GC snatched up the Advertiser Building in 2016 with plans to restore the structure.

The contractor and the design firm, Mason Architects, collaborated with the preservation board to replace the original windows with high-efficiency aluminum units to match the original steel windows. The roof was insulated to R-40. The southern elevation that had been removed during the press room demolition was rebuilt to match the detail of the historic façade.

The team conducted careful restoration work on the terra cotta cladding, decorative interior frescos, two interior light posts, and classical balusters at the entry.   

The sprinkler heads required for the lobby were concealed by running the water line through the overhead floor, as the decorative ceiling in the lobby was directly applied to the structural concrete floor. Wood-block flooring from the print press shop was salvaged for use in the second-floor executive lobby.

The project achieved LEED Gold certification.


Bronze Award Winner

BUILDING TEAM Mason Architects (submitter, architect) Hawaiian Dredging Construction (owner, GC) Baldridge & Associates (SE) Dorvin D. Leis Co. (mechanical/plumbing engineer) A-1 A-Lectrician (electrical engineer) DETAILS 30,000 sf Total cost $9.5 million Construction time October 2015 to May 2017 Delivery method Design-build



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