The Willows Restaurant, the iconic eatery described as a hidden oasis in town, will shudder its doors on New Year’s Eve.
William Sherman lives down the street from the restaurant.
“For something so historic that’s been here for 75 years. It’s a really well known establishment. It’s kind of sad to lose it in the neighborhood,” Sherman said.
The future of the site remains unknown.
In an email Giorgio Caldarone, Managing Director, Hawaii Real Estate, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation said:
The Weinberg Foundation did recently decide to offer our Moʻiliʻili parcels for sale, which includes the land where the Willows is located. Our decision to sell this specific property aligns with our long-range strategy to make sure our Foundation assets will yield a growing and reliable stream of funding for our local nonprofits for years to come. This decision to sell was not related to the restaurant’s future plans. As caretakers of Harry Weinberg’s legacy, our job is to manage the Foundation’s land assets so that our grants team can support our community’s low income and vulnerable populations in perpetuity.
There are 12 different parcels being sold with an asking price of $19 million.
The properties are listed for sale as the Moi’i’ili Collection and can be sold together or individually.
“To my recollection about 1.8 acres that the Weinberg Foundation owns and are looking to sell. That could potentially change the neighborhood character over on that street for sure, if not the broader neighborhood,” explained Timothy Streitz, chair for the McCully/Moi’i’ili neighborhood board.
The properties are broken up into three different property types.
The first is considered multi-family like the building at 818 Hausten Street.
The next is land like several parcels currently used as parking lots, and the third is retail, like the Willows Restaurant at 901 Hausten Street.
Hannah Hall lives at 917 Hausten Street, one of the properties listed for sale.
She said she had no idea.
“My house and home goodness. I sure don’t want to move again. I love it here. I’ve been here three and a half years,” said Hall.
She said she has no idea where she will go if she is forced to move, and she’s worried what the future holds.
“I am concerned that Moili’ili is going to really change its face if things aren’t done right.”
Sherman said he’s worried how this could potentially impact his cost of living.
“An obvious concern would be how much the rent would be if it would go up. If there’s more people, would it increase my rental?” asked Sherman.
The hope is, that whoever the new land owners are, they will work with the community.
“It’s possible that this sort of development could make improvements if done correctly,” explained Streitz. “We definitely want to work closely with any developers on developments that happen there whether it’s a larger kind of cohesive master plan type of development or just within each site.”