Work to begin this year on Puhi Safeway project

PUHI — Construction is expected to begin during the second half of this year on a second Kaua‘i Safeway supermarket and retail center.

“We continue to work through the development process to bring a new Safeway store in (Puhi) to our loyal customers on Kaua‘i,” Susan Houghton, director of public and government affairs for Safeway, said in an email.

Safeway’s project plans, initiated in 2008, were shelved in 2010. Now the company is ready to commence with its endeavor to build a commercial center called Hokulei Village anchored by a Safeway supermarket and also offering  restaurants and mixed retail.

“Despite a delay, due in part to the widening of Kaumualii Highway fronting the project, we expect to start construction on a new Safeway store in the second half of this year,” said Gerry Wolfe, vice president of development for Property Development Centers.

“In addition to the Safeway store, we have had strong tenant interest from other retailers and businesses ,and we are in various stages of finalizing contract leases,” Wolfe said in an email. “We look forward to announcing new tenants and providing additional updates to Kaua‘i residents on the status of Hokulei Village.”

The new Safeway center at the intersection of Kaumuali‘i Highway and Nuhou Street will be built on a 22-acre lot directly across from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.

 According to 2010 project plans, the first phase of the project will include a 57,514-square-foot Safeway supermarket, another major store measuring 14,820 square feet, two shopping complexes, a bank, a gas station and four restaurants. The size of the largest restaurants will be 8,129 square feet.

The project’s second phase involves the construction of two major retail shops, one measuring 41,104 square feet and the other 29,948 square feet, plus a smaller store and three more restaurants.

The entire center will have 1,025 parking spaces, with approximately 60 percent of the stalls to be built during the first phase.

In December 2008, the county Planning Commission unanimously approved the center’s zoning permit.

In 2010, it approved the division of the project into two phases.

But the severe U.S. economic downturn and anticipated effects from the highway widening project caused the company to place its project on hold, Houghton said.

“We recognize that Kaua‘i residents have been anticipating the opening of the planned Hokulei Village shopping complex and we appreciate their patience and interest as we continue to work through the development process,” Wolfe said.

The Times supermarket chain bought out the island’s Big Save chain last summer and subsequently closed the Lihu‘e Big Save location.

Since then, the only traditional supermarket serving the Lihu‘e-Puhi area has been the Times store in Kukui Grove Center.

• Vanessa Van Voorhis, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 251, or by emailing vvanvoorhis@thegardenisland.com.

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