BY DARIN MORIKI / Pacific Business News
It has been a long time coming, but the Haleiwa Store Lots on Oahu's North Shore are finally ready, following years of planning Kamehameha Schools and nearly $16 million in improvements.
"For many years, a number of these shops have operated on a month-to-month, and we wanted to be able to reinvest back into the community, so what you see is really that investment," Kamehameha Schools senior land asset manager Kalani Fronda told PBN on Friday, ahead of the shopping complex's grand opening. "It's not like your typical shopping complex, and if you take a look at the design of it, it really is designed to look like a village — many of the buildings, when you take a look at the facade and storefronts, they have their own identity."
The grand opening on Friday marked the near completion of the estimated $16 million revitalization project along Kamehameha Highway in Haleiwa town, where throngs of people routinely flock to Matsumoto's Shave Ice for its well-known, ice-based treat.
"With the opening of Haleiwa Store Lots, Kamehameha Schools has modernized one of Oahu’s great legacy communities while retaining Haleiwa town’s charm and character," Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell told PBN in an email. "Kamehameha Schools worked closely with this close-knit community to keep the heart of the North Shore beating strong for the 15,000 residents and 2.5 million visitors who visit this slice of paradise each year, and it shows."
Discussions to revitalize the historic section of Haleiwa, Fronda said, dates back to at least 2006 when Kamehameha Schools officials were developing a plan to guide future changes to North Shore communities, including Waialua and Haleiwa.
Out of those plans came a firm proposal to provide more space for retailers and merchants by adding about 10,000 square feet of gross space and improving existing historic buildings in the area, including the M. Matsumoto Grocery Store building, by addressing key infrastructure issues and
"We did some due diligence to take a look at the vacancy rates, and this place was breaking at the seams — there's so many opportunities that are out here and there's so many people who are using it," Fronda said. "We also really wanted to tell the story about the area — of what used to be here before along with the existing shops."
Construction on the project began in September 2013 and was slated to be complete by last fall. But pressing needs to clean up the project site, coupled with inclement weather delays, including those caused by Hurricanes Iselle, Julio and Ana, pushed the completion date ahead each time by weeks, if not months, Fronda said.
In all, the 28,000-square-foot retail complex spans a 0.1-mile section of Kamehameha Highway between Mahaulu Lane and Kewalo Lane.
Retailers now open for business include Mastumoto Shave Ice, Whaler's General Store, Haleiwa Fruit Stand, Clark Little Gallery, Global Creations, Greenroom Hawaii, Guava Shop, Island Vintage Coffee, Kahala Sportswear, Mahina, Mailikukahi Hale Kamehameha Schools North Shore Information Center, Malibu Shirts, Spam Hawaii, Splash! Hawaii, T&C Surf and Teddy's Bigger Burgers.
Four other merchants, Fronda said, should reopen by the end of this summer, including Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Advantage Realty North Shore, Fatboy's, Rajanee Thai Cuisine and Uncle Bo's Pupu Bar and Grill.