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HTDC Breaks Ground on Entrepreneurs Sandbox Facility in Kakaʻako, Set to be Complete in July 2019

April 18, 2018
Press Release

The Innovation Center Will Be a Place Where the Community Can Gather to Create

A groundbreaking ceremony today marked the start of construction on the Hawaiʻi Technology Development Corporation’s (HTDC) Entrepreneurs’ Sandbox facility in Kakaʻako. When completed, the facility will be an innovation center where everyone from keiki to kupuna can bring their ideas to life and learn to build products and develop creative media. The two-story, 13,500-square-foot Sandbox is expected to be completed in 2019 and is the first phase of the Kakaʻako Innovation Block.

“This groundbreaking marks an important day — the next step in providing a collaborative environment where anyone can come, learn and grow their ideas into applications and tangible products,” Gov. David Ige said. “The Entrepreneur’s Sandbox is only the first piece of the Kakaʻako Innovation Block, which will move Hawaiʻi forward as a hub for technology, creativity, and entrepreneurial activity.”

The flexible nature of the building, open architecture, and central location allow for a constant flow of people and new ideas that foster innovation.

“HTDC is an economic driver, and this project will position Hawaiʻi to become an innovation hub in our global community,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. “The Entrepreneurs’ Sandbox will be the point of the spear for additional economic achievements. It’s the beginning of the Innovation Block; the place that will be the home for innovation in our state for years to come.”

The Sandbox is a public-private partnership, three years in the making. Its purpose is to provide a new generation of entrepreneurs the tools, programs, and environment to start and grow their business, which will help diversify the state’s economy.

“We planned the Sandbox to be a gathering place for the community,” said Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO of HTDC. “The design of the Sandbox promotes cross collaborations. The digital media studio and maker space will provide new opportunities for the community to create and flourish.”

The Sandbox will be equipped with ultra-high-speed internet connectivity. The innovation center will also target the startup community’s fundamental needs: attract and recruit new business, encourage growth and diversification, help entrepreneurs in their business development efforts, promote a business-friendly economic climate, and increase the availability of high-wage jobs for Oʻahu.

“We are honored to oversee this exciting project in collaboration with HCDA and HTDC in creating an entrepreneurial center for innovation and technology,” said Stanford Carr, president and founder of Stanford Carr Development, a private sector partner in the project.

Future phases of the proposed Kakaʻako Innovation Block include a 150,000-square-foot building dubbed the “Innovation Hale” for commercial tech businesses, 140,000 square feet of space for higher education, 47,000 square feet of startup business incubation space, a 900-stall parking structure and a public plaza.

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