The following is an open letter to Douglas Gray of Eclipse Development regarding Pi'ilani Promenade:
I am writing to you as a concerned citizen of Kihei, Maui. There are a lot of people here who have grave concerns about the Pi'ilani Promenade super mall project your company has planned for our community. Many of them attended the Kihei Community Association meeting on April 17, where we were informed that you have all your entitlements in place, and unless the County of Maui shows the courage to make further demands upon your company, you will move ahead with the project. My understanding is that if their legal department had more courage, you'd already have heard from them.
I have strong feelings about this being the wrong project for our community, but as a former real estate agent, I respect your right to develop land that you own. It is the local jurisdiction's job to put demands upon you and enforce them. Our county is notoriously bad at that.
I don't think my letter suggesting that you consider doing something else with your land would be an effective approach, but I'm going to offer you something that I hope you will hear. You will have a lot of dealings with the South Maui community during the time your project is being built and leased. Right now we feel totally alienated by your company and your local representative, Charlie Jencks, who has brought a really nasty attitude to the table--actually, refusing to come to the table, for the most part.
I have lived here for six years. People that are new either fit in with the community or don't. They are respected and accepted or they aren't. And it is pretty much up to the person to decide how they are viewed. Of course, my analogy is that since corporations have become citizens, I'm suggesting that you consider improving your company's attitude with the people that live here.
Get to know the local people. Sit down with the Kihei Community Association. Stand in the fire with the people that live here. Assess the words you and your local representative use with the people that live here and in your marketing materials. Connect with some Hawaiians, and be sure to do things in a culturally acceptable manner. Do the right thing. We don't like phrases like "monetizing the assets" around here. We care about the place we live and want to continue with a quality of life that we feel we have some say in.
You are bringing a huge project to a small community. It will change the face of South Maui forever. I hope you feel that getting to know us, and getting in sync with the community, will make your project flow more smoothly and also afford you a better chance of finding tenants and shoppers if the community likes you.
Wouldn't you like us telling our friends to open stores in your project and having us shopping there instead of standing on the highway with signs protesting your project and writing letters to the local papers telling people about the jerks moving into the neighborhood?
Also, a new traffic study would really be in order. If not, don't blame me if you miss your plane trying to get from the fancy end of South Maui to the airport when you come to visit.