Plans for Maui shopping center nixed
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Developers of a proposed big-to-mid-box retail center at a prime location on Maui have shelved the project after failing to reach a purchase agreement for part of an 88-acre site.
The MacNaughton Group has discarded plans to build a 574,670-square-foot center, known as Kihei Commons, that was set to be Maui's largest shopping center with prospective tenants including Target Corp.
The landowner is negotiating with a half-dozen prospective buyers to acquire large portions of the property or the entire holding, while also considering developing the site itself.
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Plans to build what would have been Maui's largest shopping center at a prime location in Kihei have fallen through.
The MacNaughton Group, which is developing regional "lifestyle" malls in Kapolei and Kona, has shelved plans to build a 574,670-square-foot center, known as Kihei Commons, on South Maui.
The project was set to be bigger than Maui's Queen Kaahumanu Center, which is 572,896 square feet. Prospective tenants had included Target Corp., which will open at MacNaughton's Kapolei Commons and Kona Commons, and Cost Plus Inc., which had identified several sites to open stores but earlier this year decided not to enter the Hawaii market.
"(Our decision) didn't have anything to do with the market or the perception of what the market was going to do," said Jeff Arce, a partner in the local firm. "We thought the use of property made sense, we just couldn't reach an agreement with the seller."
MacNaughton had been negotiating this year with landowner Maui Industrial Partners LLC to purchase roughly half of the 88 acres. The firm also contracted Griffith Construction Consultants Inc., which still lists the project on its Web site.
The landowner is currently negotiating with half a dozen prospective buyers to acquire large portions of the property or the entire holding, while also considering developing it themselves, said Charlie Jencks, a representative of Maui Industrial Partners.
The property, which fronts Piilani Highway and is zoned for light industrial and commercial development, is going for $1 million per acre, he said.
The state is proposing a second highway splitting the property that would run east-west to the upcountry area connecting Piilani Highway, which runs north-south, making the site even more attractive to potential developers.
Problems in Kihei include adequate infrastructure and utilities, particularly water. There's also a strong anti-development coalition on Maui, where at least nine other retail and mixed-use developments have been proposed or are under construction.
In addition, retail analysts predict that although Maui's population has been growing rapidly, the number of projects proposed has the potential to saturate the retail market.
However, MacNaughton hasn't completely discarded plans to build on Maui.
"We're not scrambling -- we're just always on the lookout for the right place and right use," Arce said. "There's always a concern that you'd end up overbuilding, but Maui has continued to receive pretty well the projects that have been built in the last decade or so. Most retailers there are doing well -- they've got a lot of shoppers on Maui."