Big changes planned for the International Market Place
An iconic landmark of Waikiki for decades may see big changes soon. Queen Emma Land Company and Taubman Centers have just announced new plans of revitalizing the International Market Place. It has always drawn tourists with kiosks, selling items like trinkets and charms.
"We carve in front of them and it's very personal for them, and it means a lot more because it brings out the aloha spirit and aloha culture," said Pauliasi Tamale, who owns a tiki stand in the center.
"It's different from all the shopping around here, so it makes it quite good for me. I've been here quite a few times throughout the day," said Rachalle Grey.
Grey just bought a hand-painted necklace of Hawaii's night sky, but that kiosk may be gone soon because of new revitalization plans. Instead of booths, the upscale Saks Fifth Avenue store will anchor the new development. Owners of kiosks at the center have had a heads up about possible changes for at least a couple years now, but aren't taking it lightly.
"I'm very upset because I get 30 days notice and we don't know what we are going to do after that. We have a small business and this is our work," said Joseph Vidal with Clearlight Jewelry.
A general sketch of what the new place could look like shows plans of a new center created around dining, entertainment and retail.
"I think it would be nice. It would give other people options to go to a nicer place to eat. If they want the value, we also have it down the street," said shopper Maria Sanchez.
Project leaders say the plans are not finalized yet. They do hope to begin construction as early as the end of this year, and have doors open in 2016. Revenues from the new development will go to fund Queen's operations, such as the Queen's medical center.
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