Ala Moana frees up parking before holiday shopping crunch

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Nov 26 2013 08:53:00 PM HST

More parking has opened at Ala Moana Shopping Center in preparation for Black Friday shopping.

HONOLULU -

It’s a 650,000 square foot expansion, sucking up 2,000 parking stalls right before the heart of the holiday shopping season.

Click here to watch Lara Yamada's report.
 
“The expansion is on schedule, and as you might imagine, with a project of this size, there are certain issues that we face,” said Marketing Director Scott Creel.
 
“It was actually kind of confusing, especially because of how they closed the Sears area,” said shopper Kelli Okimoto.

But before the true frenzy begins, Creel said they've figured out a strategy to bring most of those stalls back.
 
More than 1,000 parking spaces will reopen on Thursday in the mauka-ewa parking structure.
And another 300 opened on Tuesday on the Piikoi-Ala Moana Boulevard side -- an area once reserved for construction crews.
 
“They understand that we're a retail business and our success relies largely on what we do during the months of November and December,” said Creel.
 
Ala Moana's new Ewa Wing, anchored by Bloomingdales, should open in 2015.

In the meantime, shoppers said they like the new center stage area, which is home to more than 1,000 performances a year.
 
“We've seen them opening it, and opening it in stages. It's wonderful,” said shopper Pamela Petersen.
 
As for shopping, customers were doing their own strategizing.

Click here for Black Friday mall and store hours in Hawaii.
 
“I want to do my shopping early, get it out before the beginning of December,” said one shopper.

“We're leaving now to avoid peak hours,” said another shopper, an hour before lunchtime.
 
Creel recommends shopping during the week days, when the mall first opens or closes, or consider giving their $5 valet service a try, all tips, to keep this tradition tolerable.
 
“It's just been crazy in general, so we'll see how it goes,” said Okimoto.

The center is also freeing up an additional 250 to 450 spaces before the end of the week by relocating employee parking to nearby Ala Moana Pacific Center.

Creel said at Midnight on Black Friday morning, more than 60 stores will open for early shopping.

PHOTOS: Black Friday 2012

Click here to see photos from Black Friday in 2012.

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