Retail developments continue to transform the urban core of West Oahu, including Kapolei Commons, which will soon break ground on its second phase.
By Kristen Consillio, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
The once fledgling city of Kapolei continues to transform the urban core of West Oahu, with a number of projects under way that will add to the myriad of restaurants and shops in the growing community.
KA MAKANA ALI'I
The developer of a regional mall planned for East Kapolei won final approval in March to build a small part of the estimated $400 million project, known as Ka Makana Ali'i.
The landowner, the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, approved final terms for leasing 67 acres — and deferring rent on most of the land for up to six years — to an affiliate of Florida-based DeBartolo Development LLC, moving the long-planned project closer to fruition.
The proposed center includes 1.1 million square feet of retail space integrated with 200,000 square feet each of hotel and office buildings.
Construction on the initial phase — a 200,000-square-foot neighborhood mall — could begin next year if an environmental assessment and state Land Use Commission approval are completed without delay, according to company representatives.
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is beginning construction of a long-planned store in Kapolei now that major road improvements, including the North-South Road and first phase of a new Kapolei H-1 freeway interchange, are substantially complete.
The world's largest retailer, which bought the property in 2006 for about $17 million, planned to open the store in 2008 but agreed to delay development following concerns over traffic.
The North-South Road, now known as Kualakai Parkway, opened last year, and the Kapolei interchange is slated to be completed in August.
Walmart expects its roughly 150,000-square-foot store to open early next year.
Nearby Kapolei Commons, anchored by a Target store, is leasing its second phase, which will measure more than 200,000 square feet. Once completed, the Kapolei center, which is estimated to cost more than $200 million, will total 650,000 square feet.
Groundbreaking on a second phase is expected in 2012, with completion in 2013, according to Jeff Arce, a partner at The McNaughton Group, the project developer.
"Even though there was an economic downturn, Kapolei has continued to push forward," Arce said. "The economic downturn required developers focusing on Kapolei to rethink how their development was positioned."
For example, Kapolei Commons refocused its second phase away from an open-air lifestyle mall into a value-oriented outlet concept, he said.
The new developments also are adding much-needed jobs to the expanding community, with Kapolei Commons so far creating between 800 to 1,000 jobs alone, he added.
Foodland Super Market Ltd. also is building a community shopping center anchored by one of its stores in Kapolei, expanding grocery options in the area, which has only one major supermarket — Safeway — and a Costco, which opened in 2009.
The 55,000-square-foot complex, called Kapolei
Village Center, is projected to open in mid-2012 next to five other buildings that will be built in phases as tenant space is leased.
About half a dozen tenants are committed for the project, according to Mike Hamasu, director of consulting and research at Colliers Monroe Friedlander Inc.
West Oahu's concentration of residential development, as well as the University of Hawaii's West Oahu campus and the city's planned commuter rail line, make Kapolei attractive to retailers, according to Hamasu.
"All of this activity is definitely sparking the interest from retailers," he said.
Andrew Gomes contributed to this report.