Sears building will be demolished this summer

Published On: May 17 2013 07:10:35 PM HST   Updated On: May 17 2013 09:26:54 PM HST

"I like to shop, so great," said Cheyenne Pace.

No complaints from her on plans for a bigger, much bigger, Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Its owners are plunking down $572 million to re-vamp the Sears side of the mall.

That store closes June 2.

General Growth Properties takes over July 1, with plans to tear it down this summer, knowing time is money.

"The new supply coming into the market today of regional mall space is very, very limited," said General Growth Properties investor Kevin Berry.

The one big block where Sears now sits will be broken down into a bunch of smaller blocks -- boutique areas and stores less than 10,000 square feet -- with a common area in the middle.

That's one phase of 650,000 square feet of expansion.

The Pi'ikoi end of the Sears parking lot will be replaced with a still-unnamed big-box store.

And Bloomingdales, three levels in all, will replace the space facing Ala Moana Boulevard, meaning a new anchor for the Ewa side.

"It's kind of cool but a bummer at the same time. It's already hard enough to find parking," said Pace.

She's not the only one with nightmares of holiday parking.

By then, a portion of the former Sears parking lot will be closed off for redevelopment.

"The holidays, it's still going to be packed, but with the redevelopment were making sure that packed parking doesn’t get worse," said Berry.

The company does have plans to add more parking.

It'll also be revamping the food court and possibly adding a pedestrian walkway across Ala Moana Boulevard.

"I think change is good and good for the economy, like more jobs," said Honolulu resident Kevin Chang.

"Ala Moana is one of our best assets. Fully leased, there's a demand for more retail space. General Growth is in a position to do it, and we feel it will be a success," said Berry.

The expansion is scheduled to be completed in late 2015.

Ala Moana mall officials said despite the temporary shortage in parking, when the project is done, parking will exceed what it is now.


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