Big plans for The Outlets

A story on Business Wire on Monday said the owners of The Outlets of Maui are already planning an expansion for the shopping center in Lahaina.

Watt Advisors said in a statement that it plans to add another 50,000 square feet at the site of the old Lahaina Center. The Outlets currently occupies some 147,000 square feet.

The Outlets just had its grand opening shortly before Christmas. Outlets from Michael Kors, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Coach, Izod, Lucky Brand, Brooks Brothers, Carter’s, Banana Republic, Gap, Adidas and Sketchers were the new tenants added.

They joined existing tenants Warren & Annabelle’s, Hard Rock Cafe, ABC Stores, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Hilo Hattie.

The statement from Watt announced that the current Outlets Mall is 91 percent leased, and “The acquisition, redevelopment and expansion of The Outlets of Maui fits perfectly into our investment mandate.”

Watt Advisors is a commercial investment arm of Santa Monica-based Watt Companies.

Business Wire quoted Nadine Watts, president of the company, as saying:

“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. Our investment combined with the new leases have enhanced the value of this already fantastic waterfront location and positioned the outlet center for success in the decades to come.”

The expansion is expected to be completed in 2015.

Watt Advisors’ plans certainly indicate it sees more demand for retail space on the west side. It is further proof that the recovery on Maui continues to spread and that is good news for the county.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.