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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Maui shopping center project trimmed back

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

The developer of a proposed Safeway-anchored shopping center in Wailuku, Maui, has downsized its plan and modified traffic access to address community concerns.

HRT Ltd., a subsidiary of the nonprofit Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, hopes the modifications will allow it to proceed with construction of Maui Lani Shopping Center, an estimated $20 million project that would give growing Wailuku a major supermarket.

HRT disclosed details of its revised plan in a draft environmental assessment recently filed with the state.

The revisions were made in reaction to concerns raised three years ago primarily by residents of the Sandhills subdivision adjacent to the vacant 13-acre project site zoned for urban use.

HRT said it reduced the size of the complex by about 20 percent, from 130,000 square feet to 105,098 square feet, and eliminated a proposed entry and exit from Kainani Street, which connects to Sandhills.

The developer said the project's smaller size will reduce the number of projected customer visits to the center and lessen traffic.

Changes for accessing the center include relocating an entry and exit from Kainani to Maui Lani Parkway. The change means there would be two access points on Maui Lani Parkway, though one would allow only right turns in and out. A third access point, an entry-only lane for right turns from Ka'ahumanu Avenue, also was added.

Sandhills residents had expressed concerns the previous plan, which had the blessing of the state Department of Transportation, would lead shoppers to cut through the older neighborhood, which has narrow streets without sidewalks or shoulders.

HRT has been working on plans for the retail center for roughly five years. If the developer can obtain necessary regulatory approvals, including an OK from the county Planning Commission, construction is expected to take 18 to 24 months.