Wednesday, November 24, 1999

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Dick Cook, Hawaii zone manager for the Defense Commissary
Agency, holds the Pearl Harbor store plans.

Funding set for
Pearl Harbor-area
shopping complex

By Gregg K. Kakesako


The military hopes to break ground next June on a new shopping complex near Pearl Harbor that will replace its existing supermarket and retail outlets, and have more than twice their floor space.

Nearly $60 million has been approved by Congress to build new supermarket and base exchange buildings, which the military hopes will be open to military shoppers by May 2002.

Dick Cook, Hawaii zone manager for the Defense Commissary Agency, said the new Pearl Harbor supermarket, or commissary, will be 94,000 square feet in size. The existing facility's building has 39,500 square feet.

More than 80,000 military people shop at the commissary, spending an average of $3.9 million a month, Cook said.

The new commissary will cost $24 million and will be located next to the existing building, which was built in 1957.

It will feature a delicatessen, bakery and fish market, and also will house administrative and warehouse storage areas.

'Discussions are in the
preliminary stages. ... No decision
has been made.'

Lt. Cmdr. Rod Gibbons


Meanwhile, the 93,822-square-foot base exchange, which was built in 1974, will be replaced by a new two-story, 225,000-square-foot building, Cook said.

The cost of the new exchange is estimated at $35.5 million. It will include a retail store, garden shop, service shops and a food court.

Cook said both the current commissary and base exchange -- which are in separate buildings and available only to military members, their dependents and retirees -- will remain open during the construction. They will be torn down after the new facilities open.

In a related matter, Cook said there are no plans to close the military supermarket at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station, although he has heard of talk about shutting the small military retail store there.

Lt. Cmdr. Rod Gibbons, Pearl Harbor spokesman, stressed that no decision has been made about the future of the 33,000-square foot Barbers Point exchange, but acknowledged that patronage is down 30 percent and sales have dropped 25 percent since the Navy relinquished control of the base July 2.

"Discussions are in the preliminary stages and data is being gathered to support many possible alternatives," Gibbons said. "No decision has been made."

More than 2,600 military families lived at Barbers Point before the base closed, but that number has dipped drastically since then.

Also being planned at Pearl Harbor, according to U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, is a $3.1 million youth center.

The 13,800-square-foot facility will house classrooms and other recreational accommodations and be located off Nimitz Boulevard near Catlin Road. Currently, there is no youth center in the Pearl Harbor area.

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