Hot in the City!

Urban living hits new heights with the dynamic new digs at Vanguard Lofts

Modern Luxury Hawaii

Fall 2008


THE RADAR REALTY! by Brian Berusch


Ask any realtor with an eye on nationwide trends and he (or she) will tell you that Mom and Dad are moving back to the cities. Call it a result of rapidly escalating living expenses, or the baby boomer's desire to walk outside and eat at a trendy bistro without having to pull the Beemer out of the garage. The 50-somethings are more likely to be spotted at a museum gala than watching Desperate Housewives on a given school night.


Honolulu's new Vanguard Lofts on Kapiolani Boulevard are the answer to city living with the amenities of a suburban condo lifestyle—and none of the bustle of Waikiki. Thirty-two 1, 2 and 3-bedroom loft apartments will span six floors, at an average of 1,500 square feet each.


Chris Deuchar, president of U.S. Pacific Development (who built and is currently selling the lofts), calls the former Ossipoff building an "edgy" alternative to pretty much any kind of typical living scenario found throughout Hawaii. 


"We toured Portland, Vancouver and Denver—all places where loft living is booming," said Deuchar. "It's the ultimate urban home. And baby boomers who don't want to move out to the ‘burbs want the space that they might get otherwise. Our lofts have an urban feel with the benefits of a house."


The original structure was designed by Ossipoff to accommodate the National Cash Register, which meant high ceilings and an open-style floor plan.


Among those new and improved benefits are walk-in closets, separate rooms and high ceilings (with exposed duct work and vents, sticking to true loft style). Another perk at Vanguard: All the kitchens are a gourmet's dream. Top-of-the-line Thermador gas appliances run throughout, deep-set counters ("to store all table-top appliances," Deuchar added) and a public "Sky Deck" with swimming pool, BBQ area, Jacuzzi tub, cabana and bar are available to all owners.


Another unique design aspect is a "flex space" aspect to units with a second bedroom. A moveable wall can make for a separate den, guest bedroom, or expand the common living space, making the apartment layouts more flexible as each owner settles in. Add to that private rooftop lanais on 18 of the 32 units, which range from 300 to 2,000 square feet. Residents are encouraged to design gardens, or install Jacuzzi tubs on their own sun decks.


So who is buying up Vanguard lofts thus far? At press time, 14 units had been sold, and the buyers range from doctors (proximity to Schwab and Queen's Medical Center is a draw), to people moving out of Kahala and even a few families. 


If the SoHo lifestyle doesn't have quite enough penchant to raise your eyebrow, then the ground floor Maserati, Ferrari, Bentley, Lotus and Lamborghini dealership will. Add to the mix architect Richard Matsunaga's work on the lofts (he worked mostly on the Waikiki Parc Hotel and Nobu Waikiki) and final design touches by Jon Staub – and the project is a guaranteed winner.


It was enough for the president: Deuchar moved in with his wife and three kids just a couple of months ago.