Nov 30, 2021
A New Look for Waikoloa Village
Waikoloa Village, originally envisioned as a workforce housing community for the Waikoloa Resort complex, has been a relaxed, slow-growing residential area. Not quite a town, Waikoloa’s “business district” has for years been concentrated into a small shopping center, gas station, fire station, and post office.
All that is about to change, with the addition of Waikoloa Plaza Shopping Center, a startlingly large shopping mall on the south side of Waikoloa Road. What was an open field of lava rock and kiawe as far as the eye could see has been completely graded, paved and painted into parking lots. Four new, grass-green buildings are in the finishing stages, and six three-story apartment buildings are in the works with more to come. The final plan is for a 130,000-square-foot $40 million shopping center, of 19 square acres, with 35 retail stores from 800 to 35,000 square feet.
Developer Meridian Pacific Ltd., who also owns Puna Kai Shopping Center in Pahoa, held a blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for the project in April of 2018. Led by president and owner Gary Pinkston, site work for Waikoloa Plaza began the following summer, originally projecting an opening in 2020.
Then COVID happened. Work slowed for a time, but construction and building trades were classified as essential services by Gov. Ige and allowed to continue. Slowly, Waikoloa Plaza began to take shape. New intersections were added, shade trees planted, curbs and sidewalks placed, painting and striping done; walls went up, roofs went on, and a fleet of trades trucks lined Pua Melia Road.
Although the tenant list has evolved somewhat since its initial offering, most of the spaces in the shopping center have been leased, and many are nearing the finish line. In the months ahead Waikoloa will see Ace Hardware, a second gas station (Aloha Petroleum), and grocery store (Foodland). Services include Body Pro Physical Therapy, Fitness Forever, Island Holistic Healing, and Family Health and Wellness.
Food is the real story in any Hawai’i Island community, and Waikoloa is looking forward to a whole new smorgasbord of eating options. To name a few: Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Domino’s, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, Kohala Coffee Co., Fireart Cuisine (Chinese BBQ), Holoholo Brewing, and a new location for Pueo’s Osteria.
Photos courtesy Waikoloa Plaza