KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Whole Foods and Target are two big names that have come to Kailua, and not without some controversy. Both retailers have seen some delays, but are planning to open their doors next year.
Whole Foods has been going up, slowly, at the busy corner near the intersection where Kailua Road meets Oneawa Street. It looks like its almost done, but there's still a lot of work and a few more months before the building becomes a Whole Foods store.
"This is the first prototype store at 32,000 feet that Whole Foods has done in Hawaii," said Mitch D'Olier, president and CEO of Kaneohe Ranch, which owns and built the building. "And so they've taken some extra time on the plans. We're at mobilization now. The contractor, A.C. Kobayashi, is just getting control of the site. They're shooting for March 2012."
Outside, much of the landscaping is one, and a "living wall" made of plants is complete, while paper covers square areas on the wall where tile murals will be installed.
There isn't much to show inside. According to D'Olier, that's because the specialty grocer needs a lot of refrigeration and plumbing for the big space.
"I can't give you numbers, (but? they're spending an awful lot of money on equipment," said D'Olier. "And whenever you put in all that equipment, you gotta get the plumbing right, you gotta get the electricity right. This is a big-dollar job."
Whole Foods originally planned to open in Kailua last year. But D'Olier said because of the space involved, it took longer, which he said is not unusual.
Elsewhere in Kailua, large black tarps mask the site where a new Target store will be erected. The big-box retailer is still awaiting final approval on permits to build on the old Don Quijote site that it purchased from Kaneohe Ranch. That has pushed back its plans to open by summer 2012, but it could still open a year from now.
"My understanding of Target's target -- and this may be optimistic for them -- is October 2012," D'Olier said. "Now everything has gotta go perfect from here on until you hit October 2012, but I think they've got a shot."
There are a few other, smaller retailers set to open sooner in Kailua town. Executive Chef, which has a kitchen supply store at Ward Warehouse in Kakaako, will open next door to Whole Foods next month.