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Construction begins June 1 on Pahoa marketplace

May 15, 2017 - 12:05am

PAHOA — Construction of the long-awaited Puna Kai marketplace in Pahoa is scheduled to begin June 1.

The project has been in development since 2012.

The shopping center is owned and managed by Meridian Pacific, an investment and development company with offices in Honolulu and San Francisco. It will be located on a 9.93-acre property at the intersection of Kahakai Boulevard and Pahoa Village Road. According to county tax maps, the property itself is still owned by original project developer BT Kuwahara, LLC.

When complete, the Puna Kai center will have 103,600 square feet of leasable space. Its anchor tenant will be Malama Market, which will relocate from its current location in Pahoa and, at 35,000 square feet, be the largest Malama Market in the state.

Other confirmed tenants include McDonald’s and Starbucks, according to Meridian Pacific president Gary Pinkston. Kaleo’s Bar and Grill will also be a tenant.

“We should have the supermarket open within a year, by June of 2018,” Pinkston said Friday.

Construction was initially slated to begin in mid-March, but was slowed in the permitting process.

Hilo-based contractor Goodfellow Bros., Inc. will be completing the project.

The Puna Kai project includes construction of an extension of Kahakai Boulevard and widening of Pahoa Village Road. A traffic signal and new curbs and gutters will also be installed. The center will also have its own sewer plan.

The new road and building pads are set to be complete by the end of the year, Pinkston said.

Puna Kai is expected to be a $40 million project, a jump of $20 million from cost estimates made in 2012.

Meridian Pacific also owns and manages the Waipahu Town Center on Oahu, and is under contract to build a shopping center in Waikoloa Village beginning later this year.

“We would like to provide whatever support we can to the local community,” Pinkston said. “We always try to be part of communities that we do business in. We’re excited, and we would like to get this thing done.”

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