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New shopping center in the works in Waikoloa Village: Developer estimates first phase opening in fall 2018

Updated: 
September 8, 2017 - 6:15am

WAIKOLOA VILLAGE — Developer Gary Lee Pinkston has big plans for Waikoloa Village.

The owner of Meridian Pacific, he said his company will break ground in mid-December on a 130,000-square-foot $40 million shopping center that will encompass 15 acres, with 35 retail stores filling spaces ranging from 800 to 35,000 square feet. The official name will be Waikoloa Village Town Center.

“It will be located just west of the post office, with a new entrance boulevard,” Pinkston said. “The first 17 shops will open in December 2018, and phase two by December 2019.”

The need for additional stores in Waikoloa Village has grown over the years, along with a growing population of which more than half are families.

“Everything existing is very antiquated and outdated,” Pinkston said. “The national retail average per person is 25 square feet, and Waikoloa Village has 5 square feet per person — one fifth of the national average.”

Covering 19 square miles, Waikoloa Village lacks some basic services such as a hardware store and a library. The closest of those services are an 18-mile drive away in Waimea, or 31 miles to Kona and nearly a 62-mile drive to Hilo.

As of Tuesday, Meridian Pacific had secured leases or letters of intent for 90 percent of the space. Leasing efforts began in April, and 150 companies have been in touch with the developer since then. The list of companies with signed leases cannot be disclosed at this time, Pinkston said.

But the owner of one of the businesses openly shared his interest in being a part of the new shopping center.

“It is a great opportunity to expand our brand and presence in the area,” said Stephen Rouelle from Under the Bodhi Tree at The Shops at Mauna Lani. “We saw the new development as an attraction because it was part of the Waikoloa Village and we will be opening our new Bodhi Tree Juicery there as a good addition to the community.”

Pinkston said his goal is to have a wide range of stores, such as a market, drugstore, hardware store, a variety of restaurants, a tire/auto service station, gym, sit-down coffee shop, an art gallery, a health spa, drive-thru fast food stores, a postal service, clothing stores, a health food store, a realty office, churches and possibly a library at Waikoloa Village Town Center.

Shopping centers are nothing new to Meridian Pacific. They have developed, financed and leased more than 55 shopping centers in California, Nevada, Colorado and Hawaii. On Oahu, the company has owned Koko Marina Center, Windward Mall, Town Center of Mililani and Waipahu Town Center.

On the Big Island, construction is planned to begin this month on Pinkston’s other current Hawaii project, Pahoa Puna Kai shopping center on the east side of the island.

The idea to add a new shopping center to Waikoloa Village began in February, when strong tenant interest promoted him to purchase another shopping center to satisfy the demand, Pinkston said.

“The town was lacking retail services and tenant demand here has been the best we’ve ever experienced,” he said. “Many of our tenants for the Pahoa Puna Kai asked to be in Waikoloa. It will also service the Waikoloa hotel and timeshare residents. Thirty thousand people per week visit Waikoloa.”

The land where the center will be built has sat vacant for decades.

“It was waiting for the vision of a highly qualified, well-financed developer with the correct following of tenants,” Pinkston said.

In Waikoloa Village, everything will be self-managed, developed and built by Meridian Pacific and Goodfellow Bros, Inc. Financing comes from a local bank.

“We have a loan committed for the project,” he said. “The budget will be $40 million.”

Pinkston added that projects designed by Meridian Pacific are profitable by the time the stores open. By approximately June 2019 they expect to be vertically integrated in the financing, design, construction and management of the property.

One hundred percent of all labor will be local. A western theme is being considered for Waikoloa Village Town Center, as an attraction for tourists given the area’s rich history.

“I would like to thank all of the county officials, including the mayor, director of Public Works, director of Planning, director of Building Permits, the county treasurer and all of their staff for their assistance in the planning of Waikoloa Village Town Center and Puna Kai,” Pinkston said. “We always give back to the local communities and we plan to honor this tradition here. We are already working with the local library committee to possibly provide a location on the 40-acre site for a public library.”

Leasing info: Call Gary Pinkston at 415-264-3621, Jon McElvaney at 938-2033, Lou Bau at 916-519-7019 or Brooks Boor and Nick Paulic at 990-3999

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