CLEANING UP WINDWARD MALL
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kamehameha Schools will give Windward Mall in Kaneohe a $23 million redesign, including new carpeting, lighting, signs and painting.
Mall to get $23M makeover
KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS will spend $23 million to renovate Windward Mall beginning this summer, the first major renovation for the state's third-largest shopping center since its completion in 1982.
"In today's competitive retail environment, shoppers across the country have come to expect more of their regional shopping mall," said Susan Todani, director of development and planning for Kamehameha Schools, in a statement.
Windward Mall will get its first major upgrade:
Owner: Kamehameha Schools.
Cost: $23 million.
Changes: Carpeting, flooring, lighting, painting, graphics and signs, plus a new escalator.
"It's not enough to have a variety of stores -- shoppers are looking for a total experience that includes local and national retailers, restaurants and entertainment in a convenient location. This renovation will provide an attractive setting that combines all of these important elements."
Most of the changes will be inside the mall, including flooring, carpeting, lighting, painting, signs and graphics. An escalator will be added to the movie-theater wing.
On the outside, entrances will be redesigned to make the mall more inviting, and landscaping will be upgraded, officials said.
Altoon + Porter Architects, with offices in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and the Netherlands, was contracted for the design work while Texas-based Vratsinas Construction Co. will handle construction. The company has worked in Hawaii before, including various projects for Windward Mall's manager, Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc., and Queen Kaahumanu Center on Maui.
Officials want to enhance the mall's role as a gathering place.
"On any given morning, you're likely to see a contingent of senior citizens taking their daily walk in the enclosed, air-conditioned facility and then stopping for breakfast and coffee," Kim said.
However, the mall also knows that young customers have disposable income, so stores like music- and punk-lifestyle apparel and accessory retailer Hot Topic also are being signed. It will soon move into permanent quarters from its temporary location.
Windward Mall has seen a roller coaster of economic ups and downs.
The mall suffered a body blow when J.C. Penney, citing disappointing sales, announced in April 1998 it would close its two-story anchor store that year.
After that, the mall seemed to languish until Signature Theatres opened its Windward Stadium 10, a 10-screen multiplex movie theater, in 2001. Even getting that deal was a struggle, as an earlier development deal with Consolidated Amusement Co. fell apart.
More recently, it took two years of negotiations between mall officials and Hawaii IHOP Corp. franchisee Rennie West to announce, in March of last year, that the famous pancakery would open at the mall. At that time, a six-month development timetable was announced, but equipment costs and other issues have delayed construction.
The build-out should start within the next couple of weeks, according to mall General Manager Jonathan Kim.
The next big tenant announcement may be a 22,000-square-foot bookstore, proposed for the former J.C. Penney space under the movie theaters. Borders has right of first refusal for the location. The company already has two bookstores at the mall but does not have a cafe in either of them. The new bookstore would also have coffee and light food service.
Kamehameha Schools retained General Growth Properties, the same company that owns Ala Moana Center and the Victoria Ward complex, to manage Windward Mall last year.
Since then, other national and local retailers have signed leases and have either begun operation or are in the throes of the construction process.
PacSun, a board-sports lifestyle apparel retailer, "performed well above expectations during the recent holiday season," Kim said.
Construction of Ruby Tuesday "is going full blast," and construction plans for Farrell's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor are being reviewed right now, he said.
IHOP and Ruby Tuesday have negotiated external entrances for their spaces, something the movie theater was not allowed to have, for fear movie-goers would ignore the mall's other offerings. Kim said the situation is different for the restaurants, whose hours may vary from those of the mall.
After a wait of six to nine months, Kay Jewelers has received its building permit "and they should start construction hopefully in the next couple of weeks and hopefully open by maybe March or so," Kim said.
Bellagio Spa will be going in next to Macy's.
The mall is one of Kamehameha Schools' top 10 assets in its Hawaii real estate portfolio, said Kirk Belsby, vice president of endowment for Kamehameha Schools.
"Investing in our commercial properties such as the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and Windward Mall are important as the revenue generated by these properties go directly to our three campuses and our numerous outreach programs," he said.