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Developer Plans Downtown Kihei

November 24, 2011
The Maui Weekly

Progress sluggish for proposed project makai of Pi'ilani Village Shopping Center. "The county is making it so expensive to turn a shovel of dirt, that we have to reflect it in the rent."

Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez

Imagine South Maui developers getting applause at a community meeting when they proposed a 150-room hotel, a state-of-the-art HD movie theater, restaurants, retail shops and a pedestrian plaza.

Article Photos

This artist’s conceptual rendering illustrates the Krausz Companies’ ideas for the development of the Downtown Kihei project below the existing Pi‘ilani Village Shopping Center. The plan includes a hotel, a state-of-the-art HD movie theater, shops, restaurants, a central plaza and streets that can be closed for farmers’ markets and other community events. The development company’s vice president said Krausz Companies is “still working with the county and the community to make sure we provide the right environment for Kihei and South Maui on our infill land along Pi‘ikea.”

In what may have been a unique moment in the history of development in Kihei, that is exactly what happened at the conclusion of a presentation at a Kihei Community Association (KCA) meeting by Jay E. Krigsman, executive vice president of Krausz Companies Inc., after he provided an update on the company's proposed Downtown Kihei project makai of the existing Pi'ilani Village Shopping Center, which is also owned by Krausz.

He said the goal of the company was to "Create a fun and exciting place to work, shop and play."

The Downtown Kihei project will be located on both side of Pi'ikea Street, bordered by South Kihei Road and Lipoa Drive.

The anchors for Downtown Kihei will include a "Cinetopia" movie theater, where all screens will be digital with living room La-Z-Boy-style theater seating, a sit-down restaurant, wine bar, live music, local musicians and local art displays.

In addition, the project is planned to incorporate a hotel that will serve both locals and the businessperson who may be in town for a few days. Because the hotel is incorporated into the Downtown Kihei design, hotel guests will be able to walk to the shops, theater and restaurants.

When it comes to traffic and streets, Krigsman said that Downtown Kihei will consist of a series of streets and a plaza to create a place where one can spend family time. The design offers wide sidewalks, seating areas, a stage and a few vertical streets not necessary for traffic flow, which can be closed off for farmers' markets, health fairs and other community functions.

Parking is primarily in the back of the buildings in shaded areas not visible or prominent from the street.

The goal, said Krigsman, is "to create streets where people can walk."

Following Krigsman's presentation, KCA President Jon Miller moderated and participated in a panel with the developer and South Maui County Councilmember Don Couch.

Couch reported that he supports legislation that would give the Urban Design Review Board (UDRB) expanded authority in reviewing development projects, including Special Management Area (SMA) permits.

Currently, the requirement for an SMA permit for development makai of Pi'ilani Highway gives groups like the KCA more opportunity to weigh in, because projects are proposed in the SMA area.

The same clout does not apply for projects mauka of the highway, unless zoning changes are requested. Couch would end that distinction and require all projects to receive UDRB approval.

Miller agreed, saying, "The issue now is there is very little protection above the SMA project area."

When questioned about opportunities for locally owned businesses to locate shops in Downtown Kihei, Krigsman said that costs for the project continue to grow as delays in the permit and approval process drag on.

"The intent is to have an eclectic mix of national and local stores," he said. "The county is making it so expensive to turn a shovel of dirt, that we have to reflect it in the rent."

With a solid audience turnout, the KCA moved briskly to provide an opportunity for state Rep. George Fontaine to present an overview of activities he has been involved with since the last month's meeting.

These included a meeting with Ed Reinhart, president of Maui Electric Company (MECO), to advocate for an alternate plan for the utility's proposed 70-foot metal poles along the mauka side of Pi'ilani Highway from the new power substation near the intersection of Ke Ali'i Alanui Road.

Fontaine reported that MECO is now reconsidering that plan and will hold a community meeting in Kihei in the near future to discuss potential alternatives.

At this last meeting of the year held on the Lipoa Street campus of the Kihei Charter School, the KCA also unanimously elected its new board of directors for 2012. Those elected were Andrew Beerer, Steve Cordova, Michael Di Bella, Daniel Kanehele, Jon Miller, Mike Moran, Bob Richardson, Patricia Stillwell, Greg Straton and Jorge Tioga.

For more information about future KCA meetings and activities, visit gokihei.org.

 
 
 

 

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