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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Mall may be movieless for months

 •  Visitors trickle back into Waikiki waters

By Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer

Tommy Alder of Floors of Hawaii cleans an area near the theaters at Kahala Mall. About 90 percent of the mall's tenants suffered flood damage last week.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The reopening of Consolidated Theatres' eight-screen complex at Kahala Mall after last week's flooding is at least a week off and it may be months, said an executive with the theaters.

Scott Brazwell, Consolidated vice president of operations, said three of the multiplex's theaters suffered extensive damage and that the company is still trying to assess problems caused by the water and decide how to proceed.

Brazwell said the screens will be darkened for at least a week if not "weeks to months." For now, the company is directing patrons to its theaters in Hawai'i Kai and Victoria Ward Centers.

Kahala Mall reopened its interior spaces yesterday after being shuttered for three and a half days. On Friday, torrents of water swept into the mall during a sustained downpour. Consolidated suffered some of the worst problems at the shopping center as water raced into its multiplex.

Consolidated started the Kahala theaters two decades ago as a five-screen complex. The company said its Kahala Mall workers would be reassigned to its other sites on O'ahu.

Ron Yoda, Kahala Mall general manager, said he believed the five screens without damage could be operating soon.

About 90 percent of the mall's interior tenants received at least some damage during the flooding, many of which reopened yesterday. Stores operating on the exterior of the mall or with separate entrances such as anchor tenant Macy's have been open since Saturday.

Yoda said all but about half a dozen tenants reopened for business yesterday and that customers were returning in surprising numbers.

"For a Tuesday, traffic was very good," Yoda said. Still, repairs to the mall and individual stores will be ongoing. For example, replacement for the mall's logo-imprinted carpeting will take months to obtain, Yoda said.

The mall, sitting on more than 20 acres on Wai'alae Avenue, had flood insurance because the northwest corner of the property is in a flood zone. Floodsmart.gov, a Web site operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, shows Kahala Mall's address as appearing to have a moderate-to-low flood risk.

"Buildings in these zones could be flooded by severe, concentrated rainfall coupled with inadequate local drainage systems," the site said.

Yoda said store owners are responsible for obtaining insurance covering their shops and that the mall suggests tenants consider flood insurance.

Most homeowners and businesses in the state don't carry flood insurance unless required to do so by their mortgage companies. Flood zone maps show a number of commercial areas on O'ahu are at risk for flooding, including most of Waikiki.

Reach Greg Wiles at gwiles@honoluluadvertiser.com.