Royal Hawaiian mall will be greener
By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Andrew Gomes
When Kamehameha Schools completes its $84 million renovation of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki, the property will gain significant foliage compared with previous landscaping.
The mall owner yesterday announced details of its landscaping plan for Waikiki's largest shopping complex, scheduled to finish construction next year.
"It is our core intent to give back more than what we have taken," said Wes Kaiwi Nui Yoon, center director of cultural affairs.
The plan includes 82 coconut trees to be planted in the main entryway and gathering place on Kalakaua Avenue across from the end of Seaside Avenue.
The redevelopment effort last year drew community criticism because some mature coconut trees were cut down. Mall representatives said the few trees cut down were either diseased or unsafe, and that other trees removed would be replanted on site or offered to other groups for continued use.
The centerpiece of the landscaping is "The Royal Grove" gathering place, which centuries ago was the site of a grove of more than 10,000 coconut trees.
Royal Grove will feature 82 coconut palms as well as tamarind trees, areca palms, kukui trees, water lily, hala, 'ohi'a, hibiscus and native Hawaiian shrubs. Signs will inform visitors of the importance of the plants in the Hawaiian culture.
Ginger, plumeria, shower trees, gardenia and other flowering shrubs will create a "fragrant path" running along Kalakaua. Planting is expected to begin later this year and be finished in December or January.
Reach Andrew Gomes at firstname.lastname@example.org.