Ala Moana preparing for parking crunch during holiday shopping season
A 650,000-square-foot expansion at Ala Moana Center is sucking up 2,000 parking stalls right before the holiday shopping season.
"The expansion is on scheduled, and, as you might imagine, with a project this size, there are certain issues that we face," said Ala Moana Center Marketing Director Scott Creel.
"It's 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 says 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. Another 300 reopened on Tuesday on the Piikoi Street-Ala Moana Boulevard side, 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 Bloomingdale's, should open in 2015. In the meantime, shoppers say they like the new Centerstage area, 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 Peterson.
As for shopping customers are doing their own strategizing.
"I want to do my shopping early. Get it out before the beginning of December," said one shopper.
Creel recommends shopping during the weekdays when the mall first opens or closes or consider giving their $5 valet service a try -- all tips to keep this tradition tolerable.
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 says at midnight on Black Friday, more than 60 stores will open for early shopping.
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