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UHF staff
  • Island Brew University concept

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation and Hunt Development Group Hawaiʻi selected Island Brew Coffeehouse to open its fourth location early next year in the Walter Dods, Jr. RISE Center, the mixed-use innovation center/student housing facility at the University of Hawaiʻi’s flagship Mānoa campus.

Island Brew’s new RISE Center location is a 1,700-square-foot space on the ground floor of the historic Charles Atherton Building with street frontage at the corner of Metcalf Street and University Avenue. Large windows facing both Metcalf Street and University Avenue will have natural lighting, and seating will be available inside of the Island Brew itself and on the ground floor of the RISE Center. The new Island Brew will be open to UH students and employees, as well as the general public.

Rafael Baez, who owns Island Brew with his wife, Peiyu Wen, said they plan to open a popup location at RISE in January, while the new store is being built out with the opening planned in time for the fall 2024 semester.

The popup will serve espresso drinks, cold brew coffee and a limited menu of food, such as pastries. When the main store opens, it will have the same menu as Island Brew’s other locations, with a full coffee menu featuring Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee from Hawaiʻi Island, plus açai bowls, smoothies and hot freshly made sandwiches, including breakfast sandwiches.

“We are excited to serve not just the student population but the immediate neighborhood and Mānoa,” said Baez. “We really like to integrate with the neighborhood, as we’ve done in Hawaiʻi Kai, Ala Moana and Kakaʻako.”

Hunt, UH and the UH Foundation entered into a public-private partnership (P3) to design, build and finance the live, learn and work innovation facility. The Walter Dods, Jr. RISE Center is fully funded with private, non-taxpayer money. The first UH students moved into the $70 million live-learn-work RISE Center in August for fall 2023.

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff will study and work in the RISE Center each day, while 374 residents live in the complex above. Island Brew will open in this prime location, which is conveniently located for the nearly 20,000 UH Mānoa students, as well as more than 1,000 faculty and staff, and the nearby Mānoa and Mōʻiliʻili communities.

Vice President Andy Kazama and Executive Vice President Nathan Fong of the Colliers Retail Services Division are Hunt’s leasing representatives for the newly built space. Hunt expects that Island Brew will be a focal point for RISE Center students and the larger UH community to nourish themselves and gather.

FOR UH • FOR HAWAIʻI, The Campaign for the University of Hawaiʻi, is focused on raising $1 billion to support UH priorities on all 10 campuses across the state, including student success; research that matters; kuleana to Native Hawaiians and Hawaiʻi; sustainability, resilience and conservation; innovation and entrepreneurship; building Hawaiʻi’s workforce; and engaging our community. Learn more at

Questions? / More Information

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With over 30 years of service in Hawai‘i, Hunt’s Development Division is recognized for its innovative use of underutilized government properties, its commitment to creating premier master-planned communities, a commitment to sound environmental, social and governance standards, and respect for the cultural and geographical riches of the Hawaiian Islands. In Hawai‘i, Hunt is responsible for the development, revitalization, and asset management of more than 500 entitled acres and 500,000 square feet of industrial and commercial space.

Hunt is a diversified, family-owned holding company that invests in operating businesses, real estate assets and infrastructure assets. Hunt and its affiliates employ more than 4,300 people as part of affiliated businesses throughout the world. Learn more at

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.