PUUNENE - The yet-to-be-built Target store in Puunene could hire up to 300 employees and will include local products and those unique to Maui, a store official said Thursday.
The store, scheduled to be completed in early 2015, will have similar features seen in Targets around the nation, including general merchandise options and those with the Target label and a food area with Starbucks Coffee, Pizza Hut items and a rotating menu of sandwiches and salads, said Gina Pohlabel, a district team leader who oversees Target in Hawaii.
Hawaii Target stores have spam musubi, noodles and other local specialties that the Maui store also could have, as long as a vendor is able to provide them, she said. A pharmacy will be in the store, which will be Target's sixth in the islands.
Dignitaries take part in a groundbreaking blessing conducted by Kahu Laki Ka‘ahumanu on Thursday morning at the site of the new Puunene Target store. Assisting Ka‘ahumanu in the Hawaiian blessing is Kahu Vincent Del Rosario (right). The shopping center, which includes Target, is to be built on the lot on the Kihei side of Zippy’s restaurant. Target is expected to be completed in early 2015.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Dignitaries take part in a groundbreaking blessing conducted by Kahu Laki Ka‘ahumanu on Thursday morning at the site of the new Puunene Target store.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"We long wanted a store in Maui," Pohlabel said before a blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for the Pu'unene Shopping Center on Thursday morning. "It seems like the perfect location."
The "perfect location" is at the corner of Mokulele Highway and Hookele Street on the east side of Zippy's restaurant.
The 24.45-acre center is on lands formerly owned by Alexander & Baldwin and will include more than 275,000 square feet of retail space with approximately 1,425 parking stalls.
Its owner is Property Development Centers of Pleasanton, Calif. PDC also owns the Lahaina Cannery Mall and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Safeway Inc. PDC is a national shopping center development company specializing in grocery-anchored and open-air shopping centers. There will be no Safeway store at the Pu'unene Shopping Center, officials said.
On Wednesday, PDC broke ground on the Hokulei Village Shopping Center in Lihue. A Safeway store will be an anchor tenant at the Kauai center.
Construction of the center and Target is expected to be complete in March 2015. According to a site plan, the Target building will occupy 141,200 square feet. Goodfellow Bros. is the general contractor. Job fairs for the Target store will take place around two months before its opening, a news release said.
Target will open first, with the center's other tenants opening in the following six months or in mid-2015, said Gerald Wolfe, vice president of development for Property Development Centers.
He told The Maui News that the center is seeking tenants and cannot disclose any negotiations, but he did say that PDC is also looking for businesses unique to Maui.
In addition to Target, Wolfe said there will be three other large retail businesses and there could be around 20 or so more smaller retailers.
An announcement said the commercial mix will include local and national retailers, restaurants and service providers.
Asked how he thinks the center will do at attracting business while it competes for shoppers' dollars with nearby retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kmart and stores at the Maui Marketplace, Wolfe replied: "We'll enhance it."
He said he believes there shouldn't be much of a problem finding tenants because "Target is an amazing draw" and other businesses want to be near the store.
Pohlabel, too, was optimistic about how Target would fare among the large retailers in the neighborhood.
"There is an exciting retail hub here," she said.
With Target's "unique product offerings," customers will visit the store, she added.
But Pohlabel said she wasn't sure if Target's popular $1 bins, where anything from children's small toys, housewares and stationary items are sold for $1, would be featured at the Maui store.
She said the $1 items have done well at other stores, so she didn't see why it wouldn't be a fixture on the Valley Isle.
Pohlabel added that Target would start a local grant program to give back to the community.
Maui County Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa, who spoke at the blessing, said Target is the type of store that the community needs because it's affordable for residents.
"Today people are having a hard time making ends meet . . . It's a store like Target that will help our residents spread (their) dollars," she said.
Mayor Alan Arakawa agreed, saying that many Maui residents already shop at Targets on the other Hawaiian islands and his wife, Ann, and his daughters will also be customers.
With Maui 's growing population, more retail stores will be needed, he said. Maui residents want the same amenities available on the Mainland, Arakawa added.
"We don't like to be second best to anyone," he said.
While some speakers said the idea of a Target on Maui goes back to 2008, the concept of retail businesses in the area was conceived decades ago, Arakawa said.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at email@example.com.