Longtime Kahala businesses prepare to move ahead of major building renovation

Local News

Changes are in the works for Kahala shoppers.

Renovations are planned that will close down the stores at the old Waialae Bowl building, at least temporarily.

The property is owned by Kamehameha Schools and a spokesman says most of the businesses are now on a month-to-month lease.

Once renovation plans are finalized, the shops will have to move out. It’s still not clear how many of them will be able to return.

Kamehameha Schools spokesman Kekoa Paulsen says the changes will not be that drastic, but the landowner is looking at increasing as well as modernizing the retail space.

The area to be renovated is where Waialae Bowl used to be. That space is now vacant. The building also includes McDonald’s, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, Ba-le Sandwich Shop, and Kozo Sushi.

Paulsen says it’s still negotiating the final plans on what exactly will be done, but it will remain mostly shops and restaurants.

“There won’t be a major change. It will probably continue in the commercial retail,” said Paulsen.

“It won’t be condos or anything like that?” KHON2 asked.

“I have not heard that at all,” Paulsen said.

Business owners say the building will be demolished and it will take six months to a year before any of the shops reopen. They add that they’re interested in coming back, but that decision is up to the landowner and it’s not clear yet if that will happen.

“They may be offered space but I can’t say for sure that that will be the case. If there’s opportunity for us to increase the number of spaces or retail space there I think that would be a factor to consider as well,” Paulsen said.

One thing for sure is that Ba-le Sandwich Shop won’t be returning. While others have agreed to stay on a month-to-month lease until the renovations start, the owner is looking to move to another location.

“Tomorrow will be the last day for us to open the door and after tomorrow, we close and clean up because I’m asked to return the key to them on the 31st,” said owner Mandy Nguyen.

Commercial real estate expert Stephany Sofos says now more than ever, malls have to work harder to bring in customers to compete with online retailers.

“Unless you keep changing, unless you keep modernizing and giving more product different things more excitement people are not gonna come to your mall, so it behooves everybody to keep upgrading to keep changing,” Sofos said.

KHON2 asked Paulsen when the renovations are set to begin and he says the plans have not been finalized but it will be at least six months.

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