Ala Moana Still Largest Shopping Center in Country

Jasmine Tso
Jasmine Tso
Sheeree Young
Sheeree Young

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It's been two and a half years in the making and the new wing of the country's largest open-air mall opens this Friday. Due to large Kamaina demand, Nordstrom is moving to the islands, and bringing 30 new stores with it to the Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Jasmine Tso is the center's Promotions Director.

"In 1912 Walter Dillingham purchased this swampland from the estate of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop and it was 50 acres and actually it was his son Loel who had the idea of creating a shopping center," she said.

In August 1959, the center opened as the largest shopping center in the country with 80 stores and an unprecedented 5,000 parking stalls.

Sheeree Young likes to shop at Ala Moana.

"I've been shopping here ever since I was young, I guess new things have come along and they've just expanded more and more," she said.

The new renovation is the mall's sixth and largest yet- expanding the center to 2.1 million square feet.

"It's only Tuesday and the parking lot is ridiculous, so it's kind of hard to find parking but people still come here and it's still popular," Young said.

The multi-million dollar renovation includes a new parking structure adding 800 stalls to the center.

"We estimate that we get approximately 42 million shopping visitations per year," Tso said.

And that makes it one of the largest shopping centers in the world. The new expansion and Nordstrom store will open to the public on Friday morning.