Kailua residents speak out about planned Target store

Kailua neighborhood board meeting
Kailua neighborhood board meeting
Kealii Flood
Kealii Flood

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - National retailer Target plans to open a store in Kailua in July of 2012.

That news drew vocal opposition from Kailua residents at a neighborhood board meeting Thursday night. While some spoke in favor of the big box store, a majority of those who spoke expressed displeasure with the retailer's plan.

Opponents signed a petition urging Target to stay away, and said Target does not mesh with the rest of the town.

"They want to be the one stop shop for Kailua, and that's everything that Kailua is not about. Kailua is a place you come to. You wonder. You go to specific destination places," said Kailua businessman David Kim.

There are, however, people who welcome the retail giant.

"I think if anything you look at Kailua's nature in the first place, they are kind of progressive. I think this relates to the progressive nature of Kailua. I'm pretty sure you are going to see some of those people who are against that store, they are going to be shopping there," said Kailua resident Kealii Flood.

Target plans to build on property owned by Kaneohe Ranch and currently occupied by Don Quijote. In late July Target acquired Don Quijote's leasehold interest in the property.

Target gave members of the Kailua Neighborhood Board a statement saying, "... we remain focused on ensuring we build a store that can be embraced by and meets the needs of local residents."

Target already has three stores in Hawaii. It has two stores on Oahu and one on the Big Island. It is also opening a store in Hilo.

Kim said those places may be a good fit for Target, but Kailua is not.

"I like jumping on H3 and driving to Target. I have nothing against that. The target in Salt Lake is not necessarily smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood. It's the old Costco site. It was planned for that," Kim told Hawaii News Now.

"You've got your pros and cons, but I believe they are a perfect set for that area that you have back there. It's kind of dilapidated. You've got holes all over the place (in the pavement in the parking lot). I think if you are looking at somebody that can be responsible, take care of that area, get it done as quickly as possible, Target is your person to do it," Flood countered.

The Kailua site is already zoned for commercial use, so even if a majority of people are against Target, there seems little they can do to stop it from coming.

"Really and honestly I must inform the community that unless Target seeks a zone change or unless Target seeks any type of variance for the property, which they've told me at this point they will not be seeking either, they will not have to come before the City Council (for approval)," said City Councilman Ikaika Anderson.

Target will have to do a traffic impact study. That study will have to be approved by the city before the retailer can open.

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