Struggling with declining business, Maui’s largest mall faces foreclosure

The bank says Queen Kaahumanu Center owes them more than $118M

Maui's largest mall is struggling to stay open. They're not alone

KAHULUI, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Shopping centers are struggling around the world and it’s especially evident on Maui where the island’s largest mall is facing foreclosure.

Queen Kaahumanu Center hasn’t been seeing much foot traffic lately and many shops are vacant.

The Kahului mall was once bustling with families. Nowadays it’s quiet.

”You will see that some shopping centers here will not survive,” said Hawaii real estate analyst Stephany Sofos.

Sofos says malls have been struggling for years because more people are shopping online.

The coronavirus pandemic made matters worse.

“If they don’t have enough tenants, they can’t make their payment on the investment paper. When they can’t make their payments, the lenders will pull the loan and they go into bankruptcy and it’s resold,” Sofos said.

Court records show U.S. Bank National Association filed for foreclosure on Queen Kaahumanu Center in November because the mall defaulted on its loan in June.

The bank says the mall owes them more than $118 million.

Many shoppers aren’t surprised.

“With the way our economy is tanking, I am not surprised at all that this is happening, especially to us here in Hawaii,” said Ani Miyaji.

The General Manager for Koho Grill and Bar, a long-time tenant at the mall, said the past year has been challenging.

“We’re still at 30 percent [capacity], we still have limited hours,” said Nohealani Johnson.

Johnson said the foreclosure lawsuit doesn’t worry her and she is still optimistic about the future.

“We’re just very positive that everything is going to work out in the right way,” Johnson said. “We’re gonna be there till the very end, I want to say forever.”

The bank is asking the foreclosure judge to order that the mall be sold to pay its debts.

The mall declined to comment citing pending litigation.

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