ROC’s New Hawaiian Venture Attracts Attention

Real Office Centers is expanding again and the Honolulu Star Advertiser took note, posting the following piece on their website. Now your start-up plans don’t have to squelch your dreams of island living. Aloha!

Chinatown offices to lure startups

By Andrew Gomes | Honolulu Star Advertiser | Originally posted Apr. 22, 2014

Chinatown has attracted its share of hip restaurants, bars and art houses over the last decade. Now the lure of flexible office space and business support might attract startup companies and technology entrepreneurs to the area.

At least, that’s the hope of Real Office Centers, a business incubator company based in Santa Mon­ica, Calif.

Real Office Centers, or ROC, is preparing the upper floor of a two-story building at the corner of North Hotel Street and Nuu­anu Avenue for lease to potentially 30 small companies and entrepreneurs needing dedicated, temporary or shared office facilities.

ROC represents a new competitor in Hawaii’s market for shared office space — an industry offering a variety of services that include virtual mailing addresses, phone answering and forwarding, conference room rentals and office space for lease on a full- or part-time basis.

Existing operators here include Resource Suites in the Wai­kiki Landmark building, Regus PLC at Waterfront Plaza and the Ala Moana Center for Business by ProWorks Inc. in the Ala Moana Building.

Ron McElroy, ROC’s CEO, said his firm tries to mingle its tenants with academic leaders and venture capitalists through hosted events to help facilitate growth.

Examples of events at ROC, which has five locations in Cali­for­nia, include hackathons, business competitions, workshops and parties.

“It’s a pretty healthy environment for a small company to be in,” he said. “There’s nothing like it in Hawaii.”

McElroy, whose family is from Molo­kai, said he would like to open a second Hawaii location in Kaka­ako within the emerging Our Kaka­ako neighborhood master-planned by Kame­ha­meha Schools.

In Chinatown, ROC leased a nearly 14,000-square-foot building and is renovating the property with a goal of opening next month.

The second floor, which was once a Legal Aid of Hawaii office, will be used for office facilities. Ground-floor space is under negotiation for lease to a bar, a restaurant and perhaps retail space for an upstairs tenant with storefront needs.

One firm that has signed on as an ROC tenant is mbloom LLC, a Maui-based investment fund providing capital for Hawaii startups. The fund established by Nick Bicanic and Arben Kryeziu raised $5 million from private investors and $5 million from the Hawaii Strategic Development Corp., a state agency, earlier this year.

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