Grandeur & destiny: Kaikodo Building’s new owners to retain old structure’s charm

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The new owners of Downtown Hilo’s historic Kaikodo Building see little in need of changing.


The new owners of Downtown Hilo’s historic Kaikodo Building see little in need of changing.

After all, when you have a well-maintained concrete building dating back to 1908 with wide wooden staircases, a classic ballroom and Masonic architecture — it was built as Hawaii Island’s first Masonic lodge — there’s not a lot of room for improvement.

But what Adam Long and Evan Rock, who purchased the building at the corner of Keawe Street and Waianuenue Avenue on June 17 for $1.3 million, hope to do is bring it to its full potential.

“You can’t replace this building,” said Long, 44, of Hilo. “It’s destined to be used.”

That starts with a new restaurant to take over the elegant ground floor, featuring white columns, a 19th century English bar, Italian Murano glass chandeliers and even an old bank vault. Previously, it was home to Restaurant Kaikodo.

The owners, who together form Sakoda Rock Holdings LLC, signed a lease for the space Monday with Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill.

Eager to fill the three-story building with tenants, Rock, 30, of Onomea said he spent a week cold-calling businesses.

It was Paul Streiter, who owns Jackie Rey’s with his wife, Angela, who jumped at the opportunity.

The restaurant, named after their daughter, currently has one location in Kailua-Kona. Streiter said he hopes to open the Hilo location in November.

“We weren’t really looking, quite frankly, to expand,” he said. “We walked in and it was just amazing.”

Streiter said they will serve dinner seven days a week and lunch Monday through Friday.

He described their fare as “fine casual,” with a heavy emphasis on fish and a lengthy wine list.

The high-end Restaurant Kaikodo closed in 2007 and was followed by Uncle Don’s Ohana Grill, which opened and closed in 2010.

Streiter said their food will be more moderately priced.

“I think the high-end concept they started in 2002 was just too high end,” he said. “It’s not what Hilo really wants.”

Rock and Long purchased the building, formerly known as the Toyama Building, from Howard and Mary Ann Rogers, who bought it in 2001 and sought to use it as a museum, in addition to the restaurant.

Long, owner of Sakoda Construction, said they did a good job taking care of the place.

“You can tell they cared for it,” he said.

Attempts to reach the Rogerses were unsuccessful.

Realtor Robert Williams said the building had been on the market since about 2008. Its listing price dropped from $2.2 million to $1.8 million.

It’s hard to appreciate the size of the building without exploring the top two floors, which offer multiple offices and a large ballroom. One room also was used for filming a scene for the 1987 movie “Black Widow,” Long said.

Rock said they will use the ballroom, known for its high ceiling, white-and-black tiled floor and wooden arches inscribed with Masonic symbols, to host events, starting with a dance Friday evening.

For the remaining rooms, they are looking for tenants.

“It was kind of hard to wrap our heads around it,” Long said. “It’s a huge project. It definitely takes a certain amount of courage.”

So far, they have a chiropractor, acupuncturist and masseuse lined up.

Rock, who has a background in commercial real estate, estimated they have 2,500 to 3,000 square feet of space available.

Noting new restaurants and shops that opened nearby recently, they think the demand is there.


“We’re bullish on Hilo,” Long said.

Email Tom Callis at

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