Sale of land for Kapolei Wal-Mart completed
The retailer says it is not opening a supercenter, but won't promise the store will never be expanded into one
The Campbell Estate's sale of a 25-acre site to Wal-Mart for its new store in Kapolei closed earlier this month for an undisclosed price.
Campbell Estate spokeswoman Theresia McMurdo said yesterday that Kapolei Property Development LLC, an affiliate of the Campbell Estate, sold the 25-acre site to Beach Investments LLC, which in turn sold the site to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.* The site is at the mauka/Diamond Head corner of Farrington Highway and Makakilo Drive.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokesman Kevin McCall confirmed the purchase, saying the retailer has submitted development plans to the city's Department of Planning and Permitting for review.
McCall said Wal-Mart does not believe the majority of the community opposes the project, but that residents want traffic relief.
"We feel confident that as soon as traffic problems are addressed, that a lot of the concerns with what's going to happen at that section will be alleviated," McCall said.
In a letter to the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale neighborhood board dated Wednesday, McCall responded to 21 questions that had been presented to Wal-Mart at a June neighborhood board meeting.
The proposed Wal-Mart in Kapolei will not be a supercenter, he confirmed. It will be a discount store similar in size to the Mililani and Pearl City locations, measuring about 140,000 square feet.
But Wal-Mart would not commit to promising that the store would never be expanded into a superstore.
"It wouldn't be fair or wise, either to the community or the company," said McCall. "We have become successful by providing our customers and community with the goods and services they want at cost savings."
McCall said the store would donate money to charity and hire more than 300 associates. He also said studies have shown Wal-Mart can have a positive impact on small businesses in the area.
"Businesses want to be located where the customers are," he said. "It creates synergy."
Maeda Timson, chairwoman of the neighborhood board, said she was concerned with the retailer's answers.
"I compliment them for being brave enough to answer some tough questions," she said. "However, it's very disappointing that their answers are contradictory. What they said to the community and in writing now is different."
Timson said she had understood that Wal-Mart would only begin construction after all road improvements were completed.
But in one of McCall's responses, he says that Wal-Mart envisions construction of the store to coincide with planned traffic improvements.
Timson said her main concerns were Wal-Mart's refusal to commit to never building a supercenter, and its undetermined answer on whether or not it would be open 24 hours
Wal-Mart said it was too early to say what the hours will be, and that its store operations department would decide on the hours based on customer demand a few months before the store's grand opening.
At its June 28 meeting, the neighborhood board voted to oppose the construction of a Wal-Mart store at the proposed site.
McCall said the vote was taken before there was adequate information to make an informed decision.
Timson said she still encouraged Wal-Mart to schedule more community meetings and another presentation before the board.
"They need to be good corporate citizens by keeping the neighborhood board informed," she said.
McCall said Wal-Mart intends to continue meeting with the Kapolei community, but had no specifics yet on when and where the public forums would be held.
"Wal-Mart wants to be a good neighbor," he said in his letter. "We invite residents of Kapolei Knolls to discuss how our store can be designed and operated to minimize negatives impacts on them."
He noted that the site is zoned for commercial use.
"We're excited about the opportunity," he said. "We think concerns about traffic are valid, and that's why we're taking all the steps to make additional improvements, in addition to the ones the state and county are doing."
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
» An article on Page C1 Saturday incorrectly stated that Campbell Estate spokeswoman Theresia McMurdo said the estate had completed its sale of a 25-acre Kapolei site to Wal-Mart. In fact, Kapolei Property Development LLC, an affiliate of the Campbell Estate, sold the 25-acre site to Beach Investments LLC, which in turn sold the site to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.