Wednesday, September 12, 2001

When horror and
thankfulness live
side by side

Yesterday's terrorism trivialized all but the most important aspects of life and business in Hawaii.

Businesses were closed, events canceled and televisions set up in unusual locations.

The more than 230 merchants and 200-plus office building tenants at Ala Moana Center, the Ala Moana Building, the Ala Moana Pacific Center, and the Ala Moana Plaza closed for the day.

Ala Moana Center General Manager and Senior Vice President Dwight Yoshimura said the decision was made at the Chicago headquarters of parent company General Growth Properties, which owns 145 properties in 37 states.

"It's out of respect for the families and victims of this horrific tragedy," Yoshimura said. Late yesterday morning, looking out his window, he said the shopping center looked "vacant," and that the last time he saw it that way was nine years ago due to Hurricane Iniki.

The center, plaza and office buildings were to reopen today, and Yoshimura planned to encourage all tenants to observe a moment of silence.

General Growth owns properties in the Washington, D.C., and New York City areas, but "none that were obviously affected directly by today's events," said Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications Wally Brewster.

Muddy Waters Espresso in Aikahi Park Shopping Center was open for business as an immense line of cars slowly snaked by on Kaneohe Bay Drive. The automotive backlog extended in both directions from the approach to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, but increased traffic outside did not translate to increased revenue inside. Few motorists gave up their spot in the traffic queue to sit out the wait with a cup of coffee.

Morning supervisor Dawn Correa said "our business was basically normal." The shop appears to have lost revenue, in fact. "Some customers called and made orders," Correa said, "but they called back and said, 'they won't let me off (base).'" By 10 a.m., the traffic had subsided.

For those not stuck in traffic but perhaps stuck in Hawaii with no flights for home available, hotels did what they could.

"We are able to extend accommodations for those guests who have to stay. We're calling it a compassion rate, a discounted rate obviously during this time period," Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Public Relations Manager Nancy Daniels said. "We're waiving long-distance charges for those who need to call home or get in touch with their families, and all cancellation and early departure fees are being waived."

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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