Kamehameha Schools had been planning a new shopping complex in the lawn area near Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai known by residents as the 'Great Lawn.'
But on Thursday, Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate announced it has decided to suspend preliminary planning and the community outreach process for the Kuapa commercial village.
"This allows us to direct more resources to other projects in the state in alignment with our existing asset management plans. It also gives us time to consider our Kuapa property in the broader context of our other holdings and activities in Maunalua and how we want to work and interact with the Hawaii Kai community in the years ahead," said Susan Todani, director of KSBE's Hawaii Kai commercial real estate activities.
The possibility of a Foodland market being located at the 4.5 acre Kuapa site was raised by several community members after Foodland was removed from the Koko Marina Center on July 10, 2011 after failing to renew its lease. The potential for a new Foodland store was explored when a petition organized by community members and elected officials in 2011, as well as a 2012 survey by OmniTrak, indicated strong support for Foodland's return to Hawaii Kai.
But with KSBE walking back its plans, reaction to the decision was overwhelmingly positive.
"Our interest was in retaining the preservation status of this property, and we find it very gratifying that they did listen to the community and have responded in this way," said Greg Knudsen, chairman of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board, which in July of last year passed a resolution protesting development plans for the Great Lawn.
Councilman Stanely Chang, who represents East Oahu, said the Great Lawn would not be developed "for the foreseeable future in term of years."
However, Todani' statement was much more measured.
“While we do not have any immediate plans for the Kuapa parcel, we will evaluate other opportunities that present themselves in the future as to how well they align with our Endowment’s support of our educational mission,” Todani wrote.
Foodland spokeswoman Sheryl Toda told KITV4 the grocery store chain has no immediate plans to return to Hawaii Kai, which includes a nearly vacant shopping center at Kalama Valley.
And with the Great Lawn preserved for now, members of the Hawaii Kai Boat Club are hoping they can make use of a portion of the land for their sailing program for kids.
"We'd like to host some statewide regattas, and even some national events here one day," said Todd Carle, the boat club's former commodore. "We just need some room for the kids to rig up their sails on the back part of the property facing the marina."
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