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Historic Buildings in Honolulu
Kakaako Pumping Station

The Kakaako Pump Station on Ala Moana Boulevard in Honolulu was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 1978.

kakaako Pump Station

The Kakaako Pumping Station is located on an acre of land between the Kewalo Basin and Downtown Honolulu, at Ala Moana Boulevard and Keawe Street. It is a blue stone structure with arched windows, a green tile roof, and an 80 foot tower.

Quick Facts About the Building
Building Name: Kakaako Pumping Station
Address: 653 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu
Built: 1900
Architectural Style: Romanesque
Periods of Significance: 1900-1949
Designer: Oliver G. Traphagen
Current Owner: State of Hawaii
Historic Building Number: 78001022
Added to National Register of Historic Places: 1978

History of the Kakaako Pumping Station

The Kakaako Pumping Station was built in 1900 and it was Honolulu's first waste disposal facility. Steam powered pumps pushed sewage 1200 feet into the sea. The building was designed by architect Oliver G. Traphagen, who also designed the Moana Hotel and the Palama Fire Station. In 1955 a new sewage facility replace the Kakaako Station, after the new facility was built, the old one fell into disrepair, but it remained on standby for several years.

Use Proposals in the 1990's

In 1997 Richard Weiser of the South Carolina Weiser Companies proposed building a restaurant complex with "A Pacific Cafe" as the first tenant. The complex would include a bakery, delicatessen, pub, micro brewery, wine cellar, and a farmer's market. That proposal included adding new buildings that would blend with the pumping station, resulting in a total of 8000 square feet. The project would have been designed and built by Charles Pankow Builders of Honolulu. This project was approved, at least at some level, and it was expected to be completed in October of 1998. It never happened.

In 1997 commercial fishing company Antsberg and Antsberg wanted to turn the pumping station into a Hawaii fishing museum. That project would have used the existing building and included fishing vessels from different time periods. The museum would have also been used for meetings, fishing movies, and scientific presentations.

In 1998, Hawaiian music performer Henry Kapono expressed an interest in the building for use as a restaurant and performance venue. In 1999 chef and restaurant developer Wolfgang Puck expressed interest in the building, presumably to turn it into a restaurant.

Kakaako Pumping Station Today

In 2005 the building was cleaned up when Louis Vuitton used it as the venue for a party celebrating the opening of his new store in Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. At that time, non-historic concrete blocks were removed and the land around the building was landscaped.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority has received more then 70 proposals for future use of the Kakaako Pumping Station building, including restaurants, museums, and even a car dealership. It has been estimated that completely restoring the building will cost about $2 million.

See also:
  • Other Historic Buildings in Honolulu
  • Other Oahu Attractions



  • Related Links
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    Elsewhere on the Web
  • 2006: Pumping Station Policy and Development Strategy
  • 2005 Oct: Louis Vuitton Opens Renovated Ala Moana Store
  • 2005 Oct: Sewage Plant Gets Designer Makeover
  • 2005 Nov: Pump Station Gets Ideas for Renewal
  • 2004: Brainstorming Development Ideas



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