Behind the tarp

The dust will soon settle as the removal of the Wyland gallery building for a parking lot expansion at Kauai Village Shopping Center in Kapaa is due to be completed on June 19. Grand re-opening events will be forthcoming.

The 4,000-square-foot Wyland building was situated inside the parking lot area at the north end of Kauai Village. It blocked a clear view of the tenants behind it from the rest of the plaza.

“The space means 64 new parking stalls,” said Clifford Ogata, Hawaii managing director of ValueRock Realty Partners based in Irvine, Calif. “There will also be some landscaping, new lighting, handicap stalls with an access ramps, bike racks, and two electric vehicle charging stations.”

Congestion of vehicles that enter and exit the plaza through one access point has long been a concern of tenants and patrons. Ogata said that a future phase of the project improvements will involve a second access road through the north end of the property next to a vacant 43-foot tower that was most recently leased to the nonprofit Children of the Land. The tower murals will be repainted.

“There is parking back there now but eventually we are looking at providing another access road,” Ogata said.

Phase one of the project will conclude with the Wyland demolition and expanded parking and visibility improvements.

“By opening it up, it will feel much more accessible and people go to what they can see,” Ogata said.

The loss of the one building is expected to add more tenants in the long run. Ogata said the multi-million dollar long-term renovation should hopefully attract more retail, dining and service tenants.

“We don’t have a dollar figure and consider it a work in progress,” he said.

Ogata came aboard in 2007, the same year that ValueRock acquired the 113,496-square-foot Kauai Village. He manages all ValueRock commercial real estate holdings and lease originations in Hawaii.

ValueRock is reviewing national vender applications for the Long’s Drug space. The CVS Pharmacy and retail will vacate after construction of their own building is completed.

“The decision should be soon and we will make the announcement after the lease is signed,” Ogata said.

The property assisted tenants through the construction phase with a media campaign and advertising to let the community know that the businesses would be open throughout the construction. The tenants have their loyal regulars, he said, and management is doing all it can to complete the two-month project in a timely manner.

“Right now we are pretty much on schedule with the weather cooperating,” Ogata said. “The county has been a good advocate.”

Tenants talk

A renovated plaza means higher property values. At the end of the day, the leases are market driven, Ogata said.

The current tenants include: ABC Store, Crush Boutique, Divine Planet. GNC, Imperial Jewelers, Kauai Nail Spa, Kauai Visitor Center, Longs Drug Store, 9th Island Tavern, Panda Express, Papaya’s Natural Foods & Cafe, Pau Hana Bar & Grill, Pho Kapaa, RE/MAX Kauai, Safeway, Starbucks, State Farm, Subway, Super Cuts, Tropical Dreams Ice Cream, and UPS Store.

Mike Martinez, an agent with State Farm Insurance, said the challenges with the tarp is the heat and visibility but that the end result will be worth it. Before the Wyland building was removed, he said people coming into the plaza could see all of the stores on the south side but had to walk around the building to see anything on their side.

“The way they had the old structure before made it hard to see what was going on back in this area,” Martinez said. “Now it is open I hope that it brings more visibility to all the businesses along this side here.”

Martinez is pleased management put up signage and advertising to direct traffic to the business behind the tarp. The additional parking in front of the south side stores will generate more business on this size of the plaza, he said.

“I think it’s going to be a big improvement and a big benefit for the shopping center,” Martinez said. 

After four years at this location, Martinez said it attracts a lot of east side clientele who would otherwise have to visit the Lihue office.

“I think it’s a great location,” Martinez said. 

 

Ninth Island Sports

Bar & Grill

Tina and Jeff Nash opened the Ninth Island Sports Bar & Grill in 2012 after moving back to Hawaii from Las Vegas, where they worked for 20 years in the food and beverage industry. The Ninth Island name is a play on the nickname for the favorite vacation spot for Hawaii residents — which is not hard to figure out with the big wall paper picture of the Vegas strip at night on the tavern wall.

The business has been blessed with good employees and a fun, family atmosphere that keeps customers coming back, Tina said. It also helps that the restaurant is situated between Safeway, Starbucks and the ABC Store, she added.

“We really have good foot traffic,” Tina said.

The restaurant will benefit from additional parking and the second entry will definitely decrease the crowding and congestion, she added.

“You have to take the good with the bad, but eventually it’s going to be great and we are all for it,” Tina said.

Divine Planet

Mike and Sonja McGinnis run two “Divine Planet” locations, one in Hanalei and the other has been open at the Plaza for the past seven years. It’s part souvenir shop, clothing store and jewelry, both import and local goods.

The two travel the world and bring items back to the store to incorporate their shopping experience with the business.

“We travel to Bali, Thailand, and China,” Sonja said. “We also carry local products from shirts and soaps made in Kauai, and all the employees make their own jewelry to sell.”

Sonja said the plaza is convenient and the big name stores bring a lot of foot traffic to her door. The construction concerned her at first but it hasn’t hurt business, she said.

“I felt worried there would be dust but it’s been pretty good with the screens up,” Sonja said. “There is a little loss of parking but it’s temporary, and there will be expanded parking, and a better feel with being able to see all the way around the shopping center.”

Kauai Nail Spa,

Pho Kapaa restaurant

Kenny Ton owns the Kauai Nail Spa and Pho Kapaa restaurant. Business has been slow during the seven weeks of construction. He is hopeful for the future but said there are still some uncertainties.

“Right now we just cross our fingers, wait and hope for the best,” Ton said.

The management of Papaya’s Natural Foods & Cafe did not wish to comment for the story.

Phase two of the renovation will be a refreshing of the plaza’s façade.

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