New life planned for old warehouse in Lawai

LAWAI — For years, a small warehouse, patched together with wooden and corrugated metal panels, has sat vacant on Koloa Road near the Lawai General Store.

New owners and plans for a small retail center, however, could change that.

Plans for the building owned by Ty and Ariana Owen of Koloa call for the development of seven retail, office and restaurant spaces within the existing footprint of the 7,200-square-foot warehouse.

“These commercial uses will provide a needed opportunity for local business development,” Jonathan Chun, the couple’s attorney, wrote in a letter to the county Planning Department. “The renovation will be within the existing structural footprint and there will be no change in existing lot coverage from the structure.”

The proposed project, according to county planning documents, would include a 3,487-square-foot fitness business, 1,792-square-foot art studio, 1,141-square-foot restaurant, 590-square-foot coffee shop and 580-square-foot retail clothing store.

It would also accommodate 46 parking stalls — 30 behind the building, 13 in front and three along the side.

“The project will allow the existing structure to continue to serve the community for years to come,” Chun wrote. “The applicant has met and knows many of the surrounding business owners and there have been no negative comments. To the contrary, many are very excited to see this project develop.”

Autumn and Patrick “Pooch” Claytor, who operate a mobile shave ice business, The Fresh Shave, out of the warehouse parking lot, say they support the Owens’ efforts to redevelop the aging building.

“The Owens are super good friends of ours, so we’re 100 percent behind them on this,” Patrick Claytor said. “It’s all based on community, and basically, using an existing structure and bringing it back to life again.”

“We hope the word does get out so people can see there are great plans for the building,” Autumn Claytor added.

Rachael Hensley, who works several doors away from the warehouse at Martin Roberts Design, agreed and said she was excited for the proposed changes.

“I’ve got to tell you, personally, I’m down with it just because there’s not much in this area,” Hensley said. “I’m excited about seeing some new development in that area, especially since the place has been falling down for so long. I know, for us, we’d be happy to have other choices of places to eat. Their plans to redevelop it sounded really interesting, by keeping the original facade on it and building out the interior so the aesthetic would cut through, which is sort of a great idea for the area.”

The seven-member Planning Commission will consider the redevelopment proposal during Tuesday’s meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. in the county’s Moikeha Building, Meeting Room 2A/2B.

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