Goodbye to Waikiki's International Market Place. Hello, upscale mall.by: John Heckathorn
posted: Fri May 28, 2010 at 10:42 AM
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A major Hawai‘i project like redeveloping the Market Place will require jumping a fair number of regulatory hurdles—public input, environmental impact statements, approval from the Waikiki Special Design District and so forth. So Taubman's commitment is tentative.
“This is a step, perhaps not a final step, toward redeveloping the Market Place,” says Queen Emma Land’s Les Goya. “We’re still in a fluid period, but this agreement with Taubman finally moves us forward toward getting it done.”
Don’t expect the Market Place to disappear overnight. Hawaii projects of this magnitude move forward at glacial speed.
However, Taubman already has a financing partner, San Francisco-based real estate investment firm CoastWood Capital Group.
Should all go well, Taubman will take a long-term ground lease on the property and proceed with redevelopment. Says Taubman vice-president, Stephen Kieras, “This popular area will be revitalized with destination retail and dining for tourists and residents alike.”
In other words, the Market Place is likely to become an upscale mall.
The mall-ing of the Market Place will no doubt bring dismay to many who have happy memories of the place, its colorful jumble of kiosks and souvenir shops.
However, there are many in Hawai‘i who feel the prime Waikiki real estate occupied by the aging Market Place cries out for redevelopment. The Queen Emma Land Co. itself is a income-producing non-profit, which supports The Queen’s Medical Center, a major hospital and healthcare provider for Hawai‘i residents and visitors.
Photos: International Market Place
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