The future of the Kalama Village Center - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

The future of the Kalama Village Center

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HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It's the shopping center equivalent of a ghost town.

But now, there's renewed development interest in the Kalama Village Center in East Honolulu.

Hawaii News Now has learned that owner Kamehameha Schools is mulling proposals to build new homes at the site of the strip mall.

The trust says there's no firm redevelopment plans and that it also has received an unsolicited proposals to build a public charter school there.

Community leaders say the east Honolulu community is already overdeveloped and opposes any new major commercial or residential projects.

"Because of some of the difficulty in shopping, parking and traffic, utilities sewers ... because of all of those things, people are feeling on the edge. Because of that people are saying , hey enough already," said state Rep. Gene Ward.

Added Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board member Marian Grey

"I think the general feeling of people in Hawaii Kai -- and I will go along with it -- is that we are developed to the maximum."

Carole Thirakoun is the owner of Thai Valley Cuisine, one of two tenants at the shopping center. She says mall owners haven't shared their plans with her.

"She's telling me nothing going on there and telling me month to month keep going," she said.

Concern about the future of the Kalama Village Center comes as the same landowner is proposing to build a Foodland grocery store at the nearby Great Lawn site. That plan has generated criticism from hundreds of residents during a recent community meeting.

Kalama Village tenants say Kamehameha Schools initially offered to lease space at their mall to Foodland but the retailer rejected it due to the lack of a major street frontage.

Local residents and elected officials say that any plan to develop both properties at the same time will further incense the local community.

"Many feel -- and I join them -- that we've overdeveloped in many ways," said Ward. "

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