Waikoloa Plaza eyes fall 2020 opening

  • Gary Pinkston speaks and points elements of his proposed plaza during a tour of the Waikoloa Plaza site on Thursday. (Cameron Miculka/West Hawaii Today)

WAIKOLOA VILLAGE — With vertical construction at Waikoloa Plaza planned to get underway soon, developers anticipate the new shopping center will be able to offer the community shopping and dining by fall of next year.

The new shopping center will bring with it more than 136,000 square feet of leasable space, and tenants at the site will include local and national businesses.

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“We enjoy operating in the smaller markets where we can be strategically orientated with the local communities,” said Gary Pinkston, president of Meridian Pacific, Ltd, the general contractor on the project. “And that includes providing the services that are required. And we try to find what a community’s needs are.”

Pinkston, who is also the owner of Waikoloa Plaza LLC, said 100% of the 18-acre site has been graded, and vertical construction is set to get underway in September.

Work in the meantime will include grading of the access road, fine grading and compaction of the site and installation of underground electrical, water and sewer lines as well as obtaining the building permits for vertical construction.

Meridian Pacific has been in Hawaii since 1985 and has owned a number of shopping centers on Oahu, and is also the development company behind Puna Kai shopping center in Pahoa.

Pinkston said a grand opening for that project is slated for Oct. 26, and that shopping center has many of the same tenants as Waikoloa Plaza.

Having been in the business for 45 years and in 10 states, Pinkston had high praise for Mayor Harry Kim, his staff and the county, saying they’ve been “the greatest to work with in our development history.”

Confirmed tenants for Waikoloa Plaza include Foodland, Ace Hardware, Popeyes, Aloha Petroleum and Fitness Forever, among others.

And Pinkston said they continue to look for “unique local tenants” for the shopping center.

Pinkston also said the project is being built with 100% local labor.

Vertical construction on the shopping center will start at the beginning of September, Pinkston said, and they’re aiming to open the shopping center in October 2020.

Construction of the hotel on the property is expected to start in January 2020 and open in April 2021.

The hotel, a Holiday Inn, will have 140 rooms, and Pinkston sees a lot of potential in bringing a hotel to the property.

Part of that market includes those who come to the island for renovation work at the hotels, condominiums and timeshares along the coast.

Roughly 1,000 units, Pinkston said, are under construction at a given time, which bring out professionals like architects, engineers and contractors, all of whom need a place to stay.

Accommodations are expected to go for about $200 a night, inclusive of vehicle parking and resort fees.

The hotel will also include amenities such as a swimming pool with water elements, a cabana and the capacity to host weddings with a couple of wedding suites and a chapel.

“So we’re going to make this a come-back-to for middle America,” he said.

As part of the development effort, Pinkston said the company will also sell approximately 2 acres with a finished pad and utilities in place to the state for the construction of a library.

The shopping center and hotel together will generate approximately 275 permanent full-time jobs once they’re operating.

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Once it’s up and running, he said, he wants Waikoloa Plaza to be a part of the community, saying it is already a sponsor of the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative’s Wiliwili Festival.

“And we will strive to find elements that we can be involved with in the community,” he said.

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