KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was opening day for Ka Makana Alii, the state's newest shopping mall in Kapolei.
Experts say the 150 shops, restaurants, the movie theater and hotels here were needed.
And the crowds that packed the place all day certainly agreed:
"We love having this close. We're excited," said Kapolei resident Ka'ula Santos. "We drove past here every day when this was being built and we're super excited."
Santos and her family live a mere five minutes from Oahu's newest shopping center.She and thousands of others crowded the stores and jammed the restaurants.
And good luck finding parking, although there was staff to manage traffic.
It was like Black Friday came early to Kapolei:
"It's more than exceeded our expectations," said Ka Makana Alii's general manager, Stephanie England. "Our tenants are reporting their sales and their expectations have all been soared."
West Oahu residents have been waiting for a place this to come to their community:
"It's very convenient for us. Living here for 20 years, traveling all the way to Ala Moana," said longtime Kapolei resident Rico Pascua.
"I just love it," said Pascua's wife, Lorna. "It's just like not even five minutes away from home."
Real estate expert Stephany Sofos says it's the final building block of what's been called the Second City -- and sees success in its future:
"It will help the people, the residents of Kapolei, and even the Ewa area, so that they don't have to drive 15 miles in traffic," she said.
And it also means 6,000 new jobs in the community.
"They work less than two minutes from where they live, and that's just changed their entire perspective," said England.
The state is also benefiting. The center is here because of a long-term land lease with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.