Safeway seeks permits for Puhi

PUHI — Safeway Inc. is currently seeking zoning permits from the Kaua‘i Planning Department for a proposed shopping village in Puhi near Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.

The plans call for a shopping and dining complex anchored by a new Safeway “lifestyle” grocery store and featuring other retail and office space.

If permitting and building goes as planned, Safeway expects to open the approximately 56,000-square-foot store in the middle of 2010.

The 22-acre parcel of commercially zoned land — at the junction of Kaumuali‘i Highway and Nuhou Road — is designated as Urban Center on the county General Plan.

The company’s initial plans were to develop just a second Safeway store on Kaua‘i; however, finding properly zoned and sized land proved elusive. Safeway expanded its focus to include an accompanying shopping complex when the Puhi parcel was offered on that condition, Safeway spokesman Jan TenBruggencate said.

Called Hokulei Village, other tenants could include a mix of local and national retailers, banks, office space, a 2,150-square-foot community meeting space, two to three sit-down restaurants, a possible gas station, cellular phone facilities, and two junior anchor stores that will sell clothing, electronics, sporting goods or books.

The Safeway “Lifestyle” store will feature a wide variety of prepared and freshly baked foods, seafood and meats, organic and locally grown produce as well as more traditional grocery items.

The “lifestyle” branding implies more prepared foods so customers can bring home a meal, not just the ingredients, as well as more public spaces for gathering.

Most recently, Safeway opened a store and small shopping complex in Kapahulu on O‘ahu. The Kapahulu location, for example, features a sushi bar and four seating areas.

Safeway officials said the project aims to set a new standard on the island in community-sensitive development.

“We have reached out to the community, meeting with dozens of individuals and small groups in and around the project site, to introduce them to our plans and to seek their thoughts on our project,” Safeway Vice President Gerry Wolfe said. “Their valuable input has informed our plans, and we know the Hokulei Village project is a better one for their assistance.”

Safeway is also emphasizing “green” building with this project.

The project planner, Kimi Mikami Yuen of PBR Hawai‘i, is an accredited professional with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Where possible, renewable and recycled building materials will be used, construction waste will be minimized, non-potable water will be used for landscaping, and Safeway is exploring a range of efficiency and renewable energy alternatives for the complex, according to the company.

The project will be landscaped to screen parking areas from public roads, will have shade trees in parking and pedestrian areas and will feature a landscape buffer along Kaumuali‘i Highway and along the adjacent Village West project, which includes Hana Kukui Center and Kaua‘i Hospice. It will have nearly double the open space required by county zoning standards.

Traffic planning is still underway by Austin Tsutsumi and Associates, and it will focus on improving traffic flow as well the safety of pedestrians.

Safeway has operated its Kapa‘a store for two decades, and has been in Hawai‘i for more than 40 years, with 19 stores across the island chain.

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