Aloha to vendors at the International Market Place

Published On: Dec 31 2013 05:32:00 PM HST

The International Market Place has been a landmark for Waikiki since 1956. It will not be the same after 8 p.m. Tuesday night when kiosk vendors and stores pack up and leave to make way for new renovations.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's report.

Many stopped by the middle of bustling Waikiki to bid a final aloha to the place.

"My heart's breaking, it's so hard to be down here and to know that it's going to be closing. It's difficult not to get choked up while shopping," said customer Kent West.

"I came almost every day in the last three months just to come and see it because I live here," said Julianna Kay.

Only a few vendors are left out of what used to be more than 100. Display cases once full of jewelry are now empty. There's no bargaining at this point, the prices are slashed some lower than wholesale because it all needs to go.

"We are trying to look for a new location, but right now the rent is very high because everyone wants to rent new spaces," said Michael Thipphawong, vendor with KV Jewelry.

Stores anchored around the upscale Saks Fifth Avenue store will fill the space. Queen Emma Land Company plans to renovate the place to keep it bustling for years to come since the revenue helps support The Queen's Medical Center.

"This place was built a long time ago 1956 so time for them to renovate and make it more enjoyable for everyone," said Kham Sing with Gem Jewelry Cart. 

But this psychic vendor who's been at the market for more than a decade isn't ready to move on. He'll be here until the very last minute. In the spirit of the new year, how does he predict the new renovations will go?

"I think it's going to take them until 2017 to get things done and I think they will scramble a bit to find what they want. I think they want a high-end crowd," said Chris Lee The Enchanted Banyan.

Property owner Queen Emma Land Company believes doors will open in 2015. The company issued a statement saying in part, "The redevelopment of the International Market Place is anticipated to create approximately 1,000 construction jobs, and 2,500 permanent jobs, boost tourism, and generate additional sales and property taxes for the City and State."

Some vendors near the entrance of the market place do have extensions to stay until the end of January.


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