Home Depot
shops Hilo

By Lyn Danninger

Big-box hardware retailer Home Depot has said it would like to open a store in Hilo and is looking at a number potential sites in the area.

"Hilo is definitely on our radar screen. At this point we are considering about six different sites," Home Depot spokesman Chuck Sifuentes said yesterday.

One likely choice would be an 11-acre parcel owned by the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands. The land is adjacent to the Prince Kuhio Mall and near big-box retailer Wal-Mart.

A DHHL spokesman confirmed Home Depot officials approached them about leasing the parcel.

DHHL Land Management Division's Manny Nova said an appraisal of the property is under way. From there, public notice is required before DHHL can accept proposals. Nova said DHHL would like to proceed as quickly as possible with the process once it gains authorization from the Hawaiian Homes Commission later this month.

"We have a large number of native Hawaiian constituents in that area and jobs are always welcome," Nova said.

Home Depot's Sifuentes said his company is looking to build a 95,000 square-foot store with a 24,000 square-foot garden center.

Hilo would be Home Depot's sixth store in Hawaii. The company plans to open its fourth store in Kona in November, followed by a store on Kauai at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center in Lihue. The company is negotiating with land owner Grove Farm Land Corp. to purchase 10 acres of fee-simple land.

Its existing stores are in Iwilei and Pearl City on Oahu and Kahului, Maui.

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