KHON2 Article: New Shopping Mall Final Piece of Puzzle for Kapolei’s Growth

Next week, Hawaii’s newest Macy’s opens in Kapolei. It’s the first retailer to open at Oahu’s newest shopping center and experts say Ka Makana Alii is the latest and important piece of the puzzle in turning Kapolei into the island’s second urban core.

It was the city official’s goal, around 30 years ago, to turn Kapolei into its own urban core next to Honolulu.

Is Kapolei on track on just doing that? People we spoke to you said yes.

“Everything is here. You got all the shopping centers, the new mall coming up. You never have to leave,” said resident David Kalima.

According to Kiran Polk, executive director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce, the Ka Makana Alii shopping center is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. “It’s a perfect example of what we need in Kapolei,” she said, “more jobs to match the growing population of our city.”

Polk expects Kapolei’s population to grow by about 56,000 over the next 20 years, “so we need to be on pace with that, adding more jobs for our residents.”

Real estate expert Stephany Sofos thinks Kapolei is on pace to flourish further. “The components to grow a city are recreational, residential, and commercial. They’ve now put this last component of a large commercial entity there.”

It’s hoped more jobs can cut the number of people having to commute out of the area into Honolulu, but for many others, that won’t be avoidable.

Sofos says the only obstacle Kapolei has left is the rail, and it’s coming along, depending on who you talk to. But the 20-mile rail line that starts in East Kapolei was designed, in part, to help the West Oahu city grow.

“Most of our residents sit in up to three hours of traffic a day,” Polk said.

“Unless the rail is built, it’s going to cramp people and prohibit people from growing and getting people in and out of the urban core,” said Sofos. “These are the things that need to be done in order to make it complete and vibrant.”