Maui Mall Village makeover complete

Grand reopening is slated for Saturday with prizes and entertainment

Lily Ogata, 4, plays on Maui Mall Village’s new stone fish while visiting the Kahului shopping center with grandparents Val and Liane Ogata, and brother, Oakley Ogata, 2, Wednesday afternoon. The sculptures are part of the Maui Mall Village’s new ocean-inspired decor. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The nearly 50-year-old Maui Mall will now be known as “Maui Mall Village” with a redesign including a revitalized center court, new landscape features and new furnishing and seating areas.

“We’ve been a part of the Maui community since 1971, and we wanted to refresh our center to incorporate areas throughout that welcome families and evoke a town center and village-like atmosphere,” said Sandra Brown, property manager at Maui Mall Village, in a statement explaining the new name.

The mall in Kahului was built in 1971 by Alexander & Baldwin. Since then it has undergone some ownership changes; it’s currently owned by LIPT East Kaahumanu Ave LLC and managed by The Festival Companies.

The “refresh” work took around eight months, starting in late August 2018, and was substantially completed in April. Brown said she could not divulge financial information on the cost of the renovations.

According to a check of county records, including building, electrical and other permits, work involving renovations from August through early this spring amounted to close to at least half a million dollars.

Lihikai Elementary School 5th grader Mark Corpuz, 10, plays Block City Wars while enjoying the Maui Mall Village’s new furniture. A renovation and renaming of the 50-year-old mall will be dedicated on Saturday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Work included overall common area revitalization of the main mall, including the center court, removal of raised planters and landscape, repouring of concrete, uncladding of columns and the installation of bright, new landscape features, Brown said. New furnishings were brought in and new seating areas were created.

A public grand reopening celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday with local entertainment, special sales and promotions, door prizes and activities.

The mall’s last revitalization took place in the 1990s. It’s also undergone some expansion in recent years. In 2015, it added the 26,000-square-foot T.J. Maxx and later the storefronts near Tasaka Guri-Guri. New parking has also been added to the former grassy field area behind Wendy’s in recent years.

With the latest “refresh,” the mall is able to highlight the center as “an inviting, vibrant gathering place for Maui residents and visitors,” Brown said.

“We were inspired by the beauty of Hawaii and

incorporated native plants, ocean-inspired decor of whale tails and fish heads sprouting from the ground, soft overhead lighting and smooth wooden accents,” Brown added.

There is no anticipated opening date yet, but the mall will also see new tenant Rock N Fun, which Brown described as a “family friendly entertainment center and restaurant.”

In one of the newer created spaces at the mall behind T.J. Maxx are tenants UPS along with Subway, which moved from a nearby space in the mall. There are also vacant spaces in that same area.

The mall has more than 40 tenants that include restaurants, retail shops and stores that cater to fitness, wellness and beauty and entertainment. The center is anchored by such businesses as Whole Foods and Longs Drugs, and is also home to IHOP, the 12-theater Regal Cinemas and longtime tenant Tasaka Guri-Guri.

Brown did not disclose how many vacant spaces there are at the mall.

According to a Colliers International 2018 commercial real estate report for Maui issued in April, retail vacancies were at 23 percent in Central Maui.

An official with Colliers International said it is a “fair assessment” that older malls in Central Maui such as Maui Mall Village will be hurt by a trend of retailers moving to the fringes of Kahului, to places such as the new Pu’unene Shopping Center near Target and nearby properties.

Another large tenant at the Maui Mall Village is the Maui County service center, which will also be moving. The center includes the county’s Department of Motor Vehicles and Real Property Tax services.

Construction on a new service center is ongoing at the Maui Business Park II and is expected to be completed in June 2020, said Maui County Communications Director Brian Perry.

The new two-story, 60,000-square-foot center will dwarf the current 17,000-square-foot spot at the Maui Mall Village. The cost at the time of the groundbreaking in November was $25 million.

Perry said the county is in negotiations to extend the current lease with the mall beyond the calendar year.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.