A groundbreaking ceremony Thursday marked the start of what will be the largest retail development in Ewa history.
It's a development that will provide jobs and an additional grocery store the community sorely needs.
Expectations are high for what will become the newest and largest shopping center in West Oahu.
The 20-acre Laulani Village Shopping Center will include more than 200,000 square feet of retail space at the corner of Fort Weaver Road and Keaunui Drive.
The shopping center will consist of two buildings on the corner and offices on the second floor with retail on the ground floor. There is also a planned outdoor seating that can be used for community events.
But it's a new, 60,000-square-foot Safeway that will anchor the complex that has residents feeling relieved.
"It just gives us more options because we've been having to go to the Kapolei Safeway," said Ewa resident Anela Wells. "Parking at Foodland is really bad."
Two years ago, Star Market closed leaving Foodland the only supermarket from Ewa to Ewa Beach. Even with a farmers market that set up in the area, residents were frustrated over the lack of grocery stores in their neighborhood
"This has given us a lot of dignity again. It's given us the ability to stay within our community that we love so much," said Rep. Kymberly Pine, (R) Ewa Beach-Iroquios Point.
Area Sen. Will Espero said 400,000 more people are expected to be living in West Oahu within the next 50 years. It's that growth tenants believe will support the development.
"This just fills a hole in terms of being able to provide a service so that people don't need to drive," said Deborah Karbo, director of development with Property Development Centers.
Construction on the shopping center is expected to take about 12 months. It's scheduled to open at the end of 2012.
About 500 jobs are expected to be created from this project.
The developers are waiting to complete negotiations before announcing the 70 retailers and service providers expected to move into the shopping center.