Businesses slowly filling in Aloha Tower retail space - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Businesses slowly filling in Aloha Tower retail space

The revitalized Aloha Tower Marketplace is seeing good business since its opening in August 2015, according to retailers. The revitalized Aloha Tower Marketplace is seeing good business since its opening in August 2015, according to retailers.
Shellee Heen Shellee Heen
Daniel Lim Daniel Lim
Richard Rapoza Richard Rapoza
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawaii Pacific University students are in their second semester at the newly-renovated Aloha Tower Marketplace. Since opening to the public in August 2015, businesses have been slowly filling in the nearly 48,000 square feet of retail space.

"It’s been great, we've been getting along great with the students,” said Shellee Heen, store manager of Barnes & Noble College. “We've been getting a lot more traffic with the tourists especially during boat days."

Heen says business has been good since the bookstore opened its doors in August.

"As more restaurants and retailers open up, I can see that just continuing to grow," said Heen.

Nashville Waikiki and Palama Express are among the newer retailers to call Aloha Tower Marketplace home. The country western bar had its grand opening Friday night.

"My hopes are we will get students to enjoy our dance classes and enjoy our Aloha hospitality," Karen Huntimer said, co-owner of Nashville Waikiki.

"I love the area because it's a good mix. We have the students from the dorms and we have all the professional folks working downtown," Palama Express Owner Daniel Lim said. The neighborhood market will open its doors on Monday.

While retailers show excitement over their new location at Aloha Tower, some students have mixed emotions sharing living space with business space. The entire second floor makes up university housing for nearly 300 HPU students.

"I think it could be more student-focused than all the retail shops,” said HPU Student Giavante Douglas.

As for the remaining 18,000 square feet of vacant retail space at Aloha Tower, HPU says it’s not revealing any names of the prospective tenants, but students can look forward to a new CrossFit gym being added, along with a weekly farmers market.

"We are talking to a number of potential tenants,” said Richard Rapoza, HPU Director of Strategic Communications. “The process is lengthy negotiating for the space and coming to terms with all the different aspects of it, but we are talking to a number of people."

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