WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell summed up what the International Marketplace means to the community as "there's no more critical place for our visitors, and when it is redone, it's going to revitalize the heart of Waikiki".
Governor Neil Abercrombie, also in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony, pointed to the economic impact.
"The jobs and opportunity that are going to be provided by the revitalization, the reconfiguration, are going to be something that we welcome" he said.
Once redeveloped, the property which owned by Queen Emma Land Company, will directly benefit the Queen's Medical Center.
"Every dime that comes out of this facility goes to improve health care at the Queen's system" said Rick Tsujimura of the Queen Emma Land Company.
At the ceremony, held in the marketplace, the developer, Bill Taubman of Taubman Centers, promised the project will be developed on time, in early 2016.
He noted that the construction zone will be a complicated one, but nothing his crews won't be able to overcome.
"It's a tight site without a lot of staging area, it's obviously a very busy area, but we feel confident we can do it".
As for the future site, it will consist of 75 retail locations and 7 restaurants. Saks Fifth Avenue will be the anchor story. A parking garage will be built into the Kuhio Street side of the development, with approximately 700 spaces.
A great deal of attention was paid to the look and feel of the redevelopment. The iconic banyan trees will be preserved, and the architecture was designed with Hawaii front of mind.
Said Tsujimura, "If we can be a stake in the ground as to this is where we see the Hawaii sense of place is and what you need to do when you're developing, then it's a great thing for the state".