The state’s largest shopping center will unveil its new wing Thursday, but according to the city, inspections have not yet been completed.
Ala Moana Center’s Ewa Wing expansion project is one of the largest in the state. It’s been years in the making with a price tag of more than $500 million.
It’s also being investigated by multiple state agencies over possible labor violations.
So is the new wing ready to go?
KHON2 reached out to owner General Growth Properties and was told “Ala Moana Center has received its temporary certificate of occupancy for the parking and common areas which will allow the Ewa Wing to open.”
“Because the Department issued a temporary COO (certificate of occupancy), does not mean that those stores that did not receive the final inspections can open,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Ikaika Anderson.
According to Ala Moana Center’s website, 20 stores are scheduled to open Thursday.
But according to the Department of Planning and Permitting’s website, the new stores have not yet completed their building inspections.
General Growth said online records may not yet reflect the latest update, but we were told by DPP that the website is updated instantly.
“We’ve also been told by the Department of Planning and Permitting that those stores that are not supposed to open know who they are and I would suggest that those folks who have not gotten their final inspections follow the law and don’t open,” Anderson said.
General Growth Properties said the investigation is between the state and its tenants, and maintains the Nov. 12 opening date.
On Wednesday, it said “DPP gave the tenants the go ahead to open as long as the space passed inspection and is safe to the public.”
“What we cannot have are businesses trying to open simply to meet a shopping deadline while ignoring the safety guidelines and potential safety hazards that could occur,” Anderson said. “Most businesses in town follow the law. They do what they’re supposed to. I would hate to see those businesses get the feeling that while they’re following the law, other large businesses for whatever reason may not be.”
The project has also received complaints filed by the Hawaii Construction Alliance. State investigators are still looking into the project, checking to see if laws regarding wages, safety and insurance were violated.
That investigation has yet to be completed.