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Friday, April 14, 2000

to expand its
shopping center

The addition will increase
the mall to 70,000 square feet

By Russ Lynch


The owners of the Kings' Shops at the Big Island's Waikoloa Beach Resort are about to spend $10 million on a 19,000-square-foot addition and say they are facing a vastly different market from when the shopping complex opened in 1991.

The new section, which won't be open until December, is already 70 percent leased to a variety of stores, including a Louis Vuitton outlet, and many others have expressed interest in the remaining space, the developers said.

Waikoloa now has higher hotel occupancy, room rates and visitor spending than ever and the prosperity is trickling down through the community, the developers said.

"Both hotels are up about 12 percent in occupancy," said Thos Rohr, president of Waikoloa Land Co.

"Golf play is up around 15 percent and the shops' retail business is up 15 percent" compared with last year, Rohr said. "Business is very good on the Kohala Coast."

Waikoloa Land Co. owns 31,000 acres in the area, including the 1,350-acre Waikoloa Beach Resort, which houses the 548-room Royal Waikoloan hotel operated by Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and the 1,241-room Hilton Waikoloa Village.

There are also a number of luxury condominiums at the resort, as well as two golf courses. Waikoloa Land also developed Waikoloa Village, six miles inland from the resort.

Alan C. Beall, the retail developer who designed the original $35 million, 51,000-square-feet Kings' Shops, recalled how tough times were when the first phase went on the market.

"It's a lot different from 1991," said Beall, who is a minority partner in the shopping and dining complex. Tourism was slow and it was a hard sell to get tenants, he said.

"Now, Kings Shops' is 100 percent occupied," Beall said earlier this week.

Advance sales for the new section, which won't open until December, have it 70 percent occupied and there's a waiting list for most of the rest of the space.

"There's a whole energy that you can feel over there. Everybody's spending money. They're willing to go out to dinner," he said.

Beall said Hawaii stores as a whole have higher sales per square foot than stores in most parts in the United States and that West Hawaii is doing better than the rest of the state.

Current tenants at Kings' Shops include Liberty House, Crazy Shirts, several Hawaiian gift and art stores, and a Whalers General Store. There is a food court, plus four restaurants: Roy's Waikoloa Bar & Grill, Big Island Steak House, Grand Palace Chinese Restaurant and Hama Yu Japanese Restaurant. The complex also includes a man-made, 10-acre salt water lake.

The owner of Kings Shops is KS Investment Co., a partnership with landowner Waikoloa Land Co. as general partner and Beall as a limited partner.

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