New shopping center planned in West Oahu

HONOLULU --

It is a huge project for West Oahu, a mall that would be Hawaii's second largest, in the second city of Kapolei.

The mall, called Ka Makana Alii Center, was approved by the commission of the Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands, who felt the shopping center could put more Hawaiians on homestead land.

Along Kapolei Parkway is 67 acres of vacant land. But there are big plans for the big open space, a major mall within walking distance from hundreds of homes and nearby neighborhoods.

"I think it will be pretty convenient. It will be difficult to get me out of Kapolei after that," said Maile Tiwanak, a resident of Kapolei.

Ka Makana Alii Center is being planned as a 1.5 million square foot mall, with shops, a department store, an entertainment complex -- even two hotels. It will be so big, some feel it will benefit more than just shoppers. "It will help the people on the West Side. It will create a lot of jobs and take away a lot of traffic," said Jeff Galon, a Waianae resident.

Construction is being planned in phases over the next four years. Along with 21,000 construction jobs needed to build the mall, developers also expect 7,000 direct and indirect jobs to be created from businesses in the center.

While more stores may mean more competition, some already established businesses were still excited about Kapolei becoming a shopping destination for West Oahu. "It will drive a lot more people toward us. The business is growing because Kapolei is growing right now, so a centralized mall will only make things better," said GNC Assistant Manager, Jake Wooley.

The mall development will also mean good news for the more than 20,000 Native Hawaiians waiting for homesteads. The department of Hawaiian Home Lands will earn more than $140 million in rent over the next 65 years.

"Building the infrastructure for the homesteads, including the roads and the sewers, costs money.This project will help us finance some of these projects, long term," said Crystal Kua, an Administrator with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

According to Kua, Ka Makana Alii Center will still need about a year of permitting before it breaks ground in 2012. Once that happens, construction will be in two phases -- as the mall fills up, additional shops, restaurants and hotels will be added.

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