Kihei needs a hospital, not a new shopping mall
A new mall is not needed in north Kihei. There are 74 empty storefront locations in town. On top of this, plans are already in place to build out a new movie theater complex and more storefronts in the Times Supermarket area.
Global and U.S. demographics indicate Maui’s population will not rise much past 220,000 permanent residents, and perhaps 170,000 tourists. Based on this, Kihei just doesn’t need this much retail space.
What do Kihei residents need? A hospital. Recently I helped a friend at Maui Memorial Medical Center – you know, the one state Sen. Roz Baker insisted residents of Kihei must use. As an ex-nurse, I was appalled by how poorly this institution is maintained. For example, floors are full of dust with built-up grime along most walls. The staff is good, but taxed significantly.
The other issue is physical distance. An ambulance takes 14 to 22 minutes to get to MMMC, depending on traffic/time of day. I estimate that upward of eight people annually die due to lack of facility proximity to Kihei.
Perhaps the developers should consider a small hospital for the location, streetfront space for related professionals and leave it at that. Developers also should pay for a grade-separated intersection, no traffic lights, to link with the new connector, cutting off the intersection just north to cross traffic.