April 9th, 2013
When the Sunset Room opened at Aloha Tower Marketplace, co-owner Andreas Counnas said he only expected to be open for a brief time.
"This is a short-term project," he said in January before the nightclub's grand opening. "It's not really about money. It's about creating a space. It's a test to see what this market can handle and how a spot like this could work."
So an announcement last week that Hawaii Pacific University had resolved an ownership dispute with a development partner that would allow a planned $32 million makeover of the retail complex to proceed didn't come as much of a surprise. Despite signing a six-month lease, the Sunset Room will host one final party on Friday, April 12, before shutting down for good.
"Sunset Room's staff and management would like to thank everyone for (their) support during our brief run," wrote business and creative director Tammy "TLOVE" Shaffer in an email sent Monday, April 9. "Always intended as a 'pop-up' club, we were lucky enough to occupy a gorgeous waterfront location while Aloha Tower transitions to its new incarnation. Sunset Room will soon be a thing of the past, but the people behind it aren't going anywhere."
According to Shaffer, she and Counnas will continue to host events via his production company, The Artists Movement, while co-owners Willis Haltom and Darren Zane will focus on running their other club, Asylum Afterhours.
Friday's closing party will feature headliner DJ Ewan Pearson from England with opening sets by local DJs Ramyt, Jimmy James and Zane.
No announcements have been made yet regarding the future of the Waterfront at Aloha Tower, a popular location for concerts, or second floor nightclub The Villa. Longtime restaurant tenants Gordon Biersch and Hooter's reportedly have the option to remain at Aloha Tower Marketplace once renovations are completed, while chef Chai Chaowasaree closed Chai's Island Bistro on Dec. 31 in order to open a new restaurant a few miles away on Kapiolani Blvd. near Blaisdell Arena and McKinley High School.
According to HPU, redevelopment of the shopping and dining complex will start this summer. Approximately 300 dorm rooms will be built, with students expected to move in prior to the university's Fall 2014 semester.
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.