Ward Village Shops retail space to expand by 60 percent

Red Pineapple boutique owner, Nalani Holliday.

Red Pineapple boutique owner, Nalani Holliday.

As The Howard Hughes Corp. builds high-rise condominiums and rebrands Ward Village, its retail footprint will grow by about 60 percent, according to Ward Village Shops Senior General Manager Bobbie Lau.

Ward Village Shops’ five commercial neighborhoods have more than 135 shops and restaurants, and one out of seven are locally owned businesses.

The developer plans to keep that ratio, Lau says.

“It’s our intention to keep that 70 percent ratio because that’s what makes us unique — the local mix, with some big boxes,” she said, noting that all high-rise condominiums will leave room for retailers on the first floor, sometimes two floors.

Lau said The Howard Hughes Corp. is working with current Ward Warehouse tenants to find future spots for them in the new development.

Nalani Holliday, owner of Ward Centre boutique Red Pineapple, says she believes the changes will be positive for retailers, with extra space and green, shady, family-friendly walkways.

The new mixture of residents, local and foreign shoppers, and businesses will be an asset for Kakaako, she said, including the new flagship 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market store that is scheduled to open in 2017.

“It’s all going to be new and improved,” Holliday said. “I think it will be a great bustling space and with the addition of Whole Foods. It does attract a different person from Ala Moana — someone who is not in a rush — and as a retailer, I’m looking for the customer who wants something unique and different.”

Red Pineapple’s neighbor, Sedona, has been at Ward Centre for more than two decades. Sedona President and co-founder Malia Johnson said that while construction is underway at Ala Moana Shopping Center, she has seen a lot of customers returning and discovering the new shops Kakaako has to offer.

She says some of the appeal is that many of the shops located at Ward and in Kakaako have just one location, including Sedona, Red Pineapple and the University of Hawaii’s Rainbowtique store.

“We really drive the customers here, because we’re very much a destination store,” she said. “I wouldn’t stay here for 25 years if I didn’t really feel like part of the growth and a part of Kakaako.”

To learn more, read this week’s special report on Kakaako in the Friday print edition.

Lorin Eleni Gill Reporter – Pacific Business News

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