Isle’s first outlet mall to be open for the holidays

LAHAINA – Maui’s first outlet mall, The Outlets of Maui, will open Nov. 21, just before the start of the holiday shopping season.

On Friday, construction crews were busy painting ceilings, working on roofs and store interiors for businesses at the Lahaina mall. The outlet’s sales space consists of 148,000 square feet in the former Lahaina Center, between Papalaua and Wainee streets. The stores will be in the old center’s 10 existing buildings that are being gutted and remodeled.

A grand opening event is scheduled for Dec. 6. Some stores will conduct “Black Friday” after-Thanksgiving sales as well, center officials said.

An estimated 35 retailers and restaurants will occupy the mall in spaces ranging from about 800 to 17,000 square feet. Some notable brands include the Banana Republic and Gap factory stores, Coach, Michael Kors, Guess Factory Store, Tommy Hilfiger, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein and Adidas.

The local Ono Gelato Co. also will have a store.

Holdovers from the Lahaina Center include the Hilo Hattie Outlet, Cold Stone Creamery, Hard Rock Cafe, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Warren & Annabelle’s, ABC Store, Maui Sunglass and Wyndham Vacation Resorts.

Hilo Hattie still will be the largest store, with 17,280 square feet, and will remain at its present location at the southeast end. The next largest store will be Tommy Hilfiger, with 8,640 square feet, across from the Hard Rock Cafe and facing Papalaua Street.

On Friday, the Calvin Klein store seemed to be the most ready for opening with shelving and track lighting already set up.

The outlets’ entrances will remain the same at Wainee and Papalaua streets. On-site parking will include 1,031 stalls, after the removal of the polynesian hut and garden currently in the center of the lot.

The mall on the 11-acre site was built in 1989. In published reports, the project’s general contractor has said that the buildings will be remodeled in hopes of turning around the center’s historically low occupancy rate and attracting more shoppers to the tail end of Front Street’s retail-visitor section.

The center’s buildings received significant architectural enhancements “that respect the historic character and vibrancy of Lahaina while recognizing modern-day retail expectations,” according to a news release from the outlets. Those touches were evident Friday with storefronts with aluminum roof touches, like those of plantation camp and older homes on Maui.

Each store will be painted a different color.

The stores will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, although hours may vary for restaurants and entertainment businesses.

The outlet’s developer is The Outlets of Maui 1 LLC, which reportedly is a group of local and Mainland investors that has signed a long-term lease for the center. The land is owned by the Weinberg Foundation.

The architect of design is Eight Inc., and the architect of record is Clifford Planning & Architecture. The contractor is Honolulu Builders LLC.

The Outlets of Maui will be Hawaii’s second outlet location, with the Waikele Premium Outlets in West Oahu being the other.

Currently, merchants are hiring store workers, outlet officials said. Those interested in jobs should contact retailers directly.

Another outlet mall project had been planned for Kihei until the state Land Use Commission in February found the project to be in violation of conditions imposed by the panel on the parcel back in 1995, when the zoning reclassification was granted to the former landowners.

Texas-based landowner Sarofim Realty Advisor and affiliate Honua’ula Partners are working on new plans for a mixed-use development on 75 acres mauka of Piilani Highway and east of Kaonoulu Road in Kihei. A project representative has said that the large outlet mall plan has been scrapped though developers still want some retail development on the site, including national clothing stores and restaurants currently not found on the island.

A meeting on the revamped plans will be presented by Sarofim from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Kihei Community Center.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at