Sprucing Up the Neighborhood Around ‘A‘ala Park

American Savings Bank opened its $100 million, 11-story, 373,000-square-foot campus across the park on the edge of Chinatown.
Aala Credit John Bilderback 2
Photo: John Bilderback, courtesy of American Savings Bank


Just prior to the pandemic, American Savings Bank opened its $100 million, 11-story, 373,000-square-foot campus across from ‘A‘ala Park on the edge of Chinatown. The local bank, with 650 employees working out of the new site, committed to the location despite the park’s reputation for being a harbor of drugs, crime and houselessness.


Although such perceptions remain, the bank is steadfast in its commitment to clean up the area, says Beth Whitehead, its executive vice president and chief administrative officer. She says that’s why a majority of bank employees feel comfortable returning—with remote/hybrid flexibility—to the headquarters, which boasts state-of-the art technology and an air filtration system.



For teammate appreciation month in August, hundreds of American Savings Bank employees gathered in A‘ala Park for a mahalo party. Photo: American Savings Bank

The bank opted out of a cafeteria to encourage employees to explore the diverse food in the neighborhood. Recently, ASB partnered with nonprofit Kupu Hawai‘i’s culinary program to provide a lunch wagon in the parking lot that sells fresh soups, sandwiches, salads and more at lunchtime weekdays.


To make ‘A‘ala Park more inviting, the company hired Matt Levi’s private security firm to provide 24/7 security patrols of the park and the neighborhood. And with community partners, the park now hosts regular sports events and more, even the parade to honor this year’s world champion Little Leaguers. “I think that I would actually argue that ‘A‘ala Park in our area is safer now than the area around Walmart Downtown, which is where we were,” Whitehead says. “We do want to see it be safe and inviting and usable for everyone,” she says. “We want the community to prosper.”


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