The transformation of 67 acres of land in East Kapolei began Thursday with the groundbreaking for Oahu's newest regional shopping mall, known as Ka Makana Ali'i.
The $500 million project is located at the corner of Kualaka'i (North-South Road) and Kapolei Parkways, and is being spearheaded by the DeBartolo Development Co., which still has ties to the San Francisco 49ers. Hall of Fame wide receiver and former 49ers star Jerry Rice was on hand for the ceremony, as were Gov. Neil Abercrombie and other state officials.
The new mall is being built on land owned by the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. The 65-year lease with DHHL is expected to benefit homesteaders for generations to come.
"Over the life of the lease to the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, we'll be giving them a billion dollars," said Edward Kobel, president and chief operating officer with DeBartolo. "That's a legacy that we're excited to be a part of."
"It definitely helps us to have a revenue source to continue the work that we do at DHHL in developing homesteads, which is going to be really important for us," added DHHL chairperson Jobie Masagatani.
For the McBrayer family, who attended the groundbreaking, the new mall provides the chance to truly live, work and play in West Oahu. Timmy McBrayer owns a concrete pumping company in Kapolei and the family resides in Kaupe'a, a Hawaiian homestead within walking distance of the new mall.
"I do want to pump all the concrete here you know, if I have the opportunity," Timmy McBrayer told KITV4.
Construction of the first phase of the new shopping center is expected to take two years and will include a 700,000 square-foot department store featuring 75 shops and restaurants, a movie theater and hotel. When Ka Makana Ali'i is finished, it will boast 900,000 square feet of retail and office space and become Oahu's third largest regional mall. The Ala Moana Shopping Center in Kakaako will have 2.5 million square feet of retail space once a refurbishment project is done, while Pearlridge Center in Aiea has 1.2 million square feet of retail space.
The new mall is forecast to create about 3,000 construction jobs and 6,500 full-time jobs when it's finished. The project is also expected to ease traffic on the nearby H1 Freeway.
"This project, all the traffic studies have been done, it positively impacts traffic, taking traffic off of H1 (and) keeping it on the infrastructure that's already here," said Kobel.
That should be an added bonus for the McBrayers, as well as thousands of others who live in the area.
"It's very hard for us to get into town, so having one of the major, large retail shopping centers here is a great advantage for us and our community," said Iwalani McBrayer. "I'm looking forward to it, not just for myself, but my children."
Ka Makana Ali’i is the 112th regional mall developed and built by the DeBartolo Company, whose founder Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. created the concept in 1948.