Pearl City complex debuts with new-to-Hawaii chains


POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Along a stretch of Kuala Road in Manana, a new retail center is drawing shoppers — from brides to new parents and pet owners — from throughout the island.

Pearl City Gateway, a $75 million retail center built by Robertson Properties Group, recently became home to several new-to-Hawaii mainland chains, including Petco, Babies “;R”; Us and David's Bridal.

Soon the 150,000-square-foot center at 1150 Kuala St., will also be home to Longs Drugs — one of its first to be built in Hawaii under the new ownership of CVS Pharmacy — Roger Dunn Golf Shop, McDonald's and other shops and restaurants.

“;Pearl City Gateway fills a need in the community for a conveniently located, inviting retail center that offers quality national brands,”; said Jeff Kobletz, Robertson's chief operating officer. “;It is a testament to the property and the location that we were able to bring the first and only Babies 'R' Us and David's Bridal to Hawaii and only the second Petco — well-established, recognized brands that are a great addition to the community.”;

The Longs Drugs is being built next to Petco and is expected to be about 22,000 square feet. The Pearl City Petco joins the chain's only other Oahu store, in Kapolei.

A celebratory blessing was held at the center yesterday morning, nearly four years after Robertson Properties Group acquired the former naval property in December 2005. A formal grand opening is expected in early 2010.

John Manavian, Robertson's vice president of real estate, said with the anchors in place, he expects the rest of the vacancies to be filled soon with local retailers.

While some retail developments in Hawaii have been scrapped due to the recession, Manavian said Robertson is feeling confident because the national retail chains have made the leap, recognizing the potential market here.

He hopes to announce a second round of tenants as the holidays approach. Colliers Monroe Friedlander is the center's leasing broker.

Babies “;R”; Us, a division of Toys “;R”; Us, opened Sept. 18 with about 70 sales associates. The store's products include newborn apparel, car seats, cribs and strollers, and it offers a baby registry.

On opening day, Sept. 19, David's Bridal already had 45 appointments scheduled, said assistant manager Robin Jandle.

The boutique carries items for brides from head to toe, with designer gowns in sizes 0 to 30, with prices starting at $99. Jandle said brides have been coming from as far as Kailua but that many area customers have also been shopping for military balls.

Two remaining buildings are available, one of which offers 25,000 square feet; the other offers 6,000 square feet for a sit-down restaurant.

Robertson, based in Los Angeles, also developed the Center of Waikiki on Kalakaua Avenue and owns a 14-acre site in Aiea that is being master-planned for a mixed-use, transit-oriented project.