Expansion mulled as Outlets of Maui renovation finishes

The $28 million renovation of The Outlets of Maui in Lahaina officially will be completed with the issuance of the certificate of occupancy later this month, but the developers are already eyeing expansion.

A news release Monday from Watt Advisers announced the completion of the project in the former Lahaina Center, between Papalaua and Wainee streets. The Outlets of Maui opened in November and had its official grand opening the next month, with some stores still working on their renovations.

Emily Heidt, Watt spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the final step of the renovation project, a certificate of occupancy, should be issued in the latter part of May.

Watt Advisers, the commercial investment arm of Watt Cos. of Santa Monica, Calif., joined with local development partners in April 2013 to convert the aging traditional shopping center into “what is now Maui’s first outlet center and only the second outlet center in all of Hawaii,” the news release said.

Watt also mentioned plans for expansion of the 10-building, 147,000-square-foot center, on 12 acres in Lahaina town in the news release.

“Based on strong interest from additional retailers, Watt and their partners will expand the existing center by an additional 50,000 square feet by the end of 2015,” the news release said.

Heidt said the expansion plans are “in the very early planning stages.” She added that the expansion is expected to be on-site in the rear of the property.

The Outlets of Maui currently has 28 stores and restaurants, Heidt said. The property currently is 91 percent leased, the news release said. Tenants include Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Guess and Gap stores.

Holdovers from the old Lahaina Center include Hilo Hattie Outlet, Cold Stone Creamery, Hard Rock Cafe, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Warren & Annabelle’s.

The renovation included new storefronts, expanded walkway overhangs, outdoor seating areas and improvements to common areas and signage, the news release said.

“The redevelopment of The Outlets of Maui has created a great and productive use for the center while bringing new jobs and terrific new retailers to the region’s residents and visitors,” said Nadine Watt, president of Watt Cos.

She said that the renovation has increased the value of the property and “positioned the outlet center for success in the decades to come.”

Jim Maginn, senior managing partner for Watt Advisors, said that the acquisition, redevelopment and expansion of The Outlets of Maui “fits perfectly” into the company’s mandate, which is to seek “value-add opportunities across the western United States that help fill a specific need in the local market.”

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.