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Opinion pieces, analyses and letters are intended to provide a diverse range of views from our community. They are not intended to represent the views of Maui Now.

LETTER: Horrified at Planned
“Giganta Mall” in Kihei

Updated 10:49 AM HST, February 29, 2012
Posted 12:52 PM HST, February 1, 2012

[sniplet contactlinks]
By Celeste Keele, Kihei


Satellite image of the site where "Piilani Promenade" is expected to be built. The red marker indicates location, not necessarily the size of the project. Google Maps image.


Dear Maui,

Please don’t let Joni Mitchell’s prophesy, “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot,” come true for South Maui. Please don’t let California’s Eclipse Development make our decisions for us, just because they have the money and power and want more.

I started an awareness campaign of this giganta mall, the Piilani Promenade, a year ago, when I read a statement by the developer to the tune of, “We didn’t ask for community input, but we’re sure they’ll like it.”

Horrified by his arrogance and the fact that NO ONE I talked to had even heard of the project, I started ainaohanafirst, supporting development in South Maui that puts the needs of the land and our communities first. I started educating people in Kihei and asking for feedback and opinions.

And then the coup de gras came, last Sunday’s front page article of the Maui News on the Kihei mall project, stating that though the community has voiced many many concerns, economical, environmental, social, cultural, etc., the mayor heartily supports the spring building of the giganta mall (outlets on one side, high-end shopping on the other, the biggest mall in Hawaii!), though he (sheepishly?) admits he’s never seen the plans. Kickbacks, anyone?

Not to be outdone, Eclipse Development owner outdid himself with another quip about the community, a challenge and an insult, which essentially amounts to, Hey, if you have the $200 million dollars to risk in this project, then you can make the decisions. Until then, community, you can shut your pie-hole. Great PR.

Sweet, small-town, green belt, walkable, 21st century design that honors this place and its past? No, the 80s mall has not yet died, as the giganta mall will be dominated by a gorgeous view of an enormous parking lot, the likes of which will make Costco’s look like the back woods. 1,200 jobs? They don’t mention they’re great minimum wage jobs for teenagers. We need jobs that people can live on.

Blame the tourists? Ask them. I have. They come here ‘cause it’s paradise, not to shop for another pair of shoes at the Bass outlet. They want to leave traffic, noise, clutter, congestion, busyness BEHIND, on the mainland. They come here ‘cause it’s freaking beautiful, to rest and relax and have some fun in paradise. AND enjoy the local businesses and restaurants, finding fun in the Hawaii-ness of it all, in the exotic island local fun, stuff they can’t find at home. And, frankly, we need the tourists. We survive on tourism. Let’s create living-wage jobs and quaint Hawaiiana at the same time and support locally owned businesses.

We owe it to Maui. We have an enormous responsibility here, as kama’aina. Please visit my web site, learn more, print off flyers, fill out a survey, sign a petition: http://ainaohanafirst.community.officelive.com/default.aspx

Let’s tell our leaders and developers what we want and what we will support with our money as consumers. We DO have say, Eclipse Development. Sorry to disappoint.

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Editor's Note:Maui Now is an open forum and we welcome any views. However, please apply your sense of aloha when posting comments - remarks that are unnecessarily offensive will be blocked.

By publishing a comment, you are acknowledging that you are personally responsible for its contents.

  • Bumpy

    This mall is for us, not the tourists.  I welcome it.

  • Gorilla218

    We need options here on Maui!  I welcome it also

  • KiheiMaui87

    I have spoke to family, friends and at work i spoke to the tourist about this mall and they all said it would add a much better choice of shopping especially if they are staying within the kihei area it keeps them closer to their hotels and enjoying more of what kihei has to offer. I never had a negative response towards this project so i speak for “some” of the kihei people and we say we approve.

  • KiheiMaui87

    I have spoken to family, friends and at work i spoke to the tourist about this mall and they all responded with similar answers that with this mall it would add a much better choice of shopping especially if they are staying within the Kihei area. It keeps them closer to their hotels and they  can enjoy more of what Kihei has to offer. I never had a negative response towards this project yet so i speak on behalf of  “some” of the kihei people/tourist and we say we approve.

  • JSantos

    I dig what you are trying to do here, but:

    the mayor heartily supports the spring building of the giganta mall (outlets on one side, high-end shopping on the other, the biggest mall in Hawaii!), though he (sheepishly?) admits he’s never seen the plans. Kickbacks, anyone?”
    You just lost your credibility here.  Sorry.

    • Pherstys

      true. a little sarcastic and inflammatory.

  • Billkn1463

    Speak for yourself, I think it’s a great idea. We must grow our economy or it will stagnate.  

  • Leilani Kawena

    Well well well…  look at the haole girl trying to tell us what stores we should or shouldn’t have.   I check her facebook and she is one of those serial protesters.  She protest everything.  She must not have to work for a living.  

    • KiheiMaui87

      She seems like one of the retired haloes who move here to get away from the city and has their home and everything set for themself and doesn’t want nothing to change or be built, and yes I have seen that he is protesting on a lot of things not to be built. I dislike people like her I say if she doesn’t like it move back or move somewhere else.

      • Leilani Kawena

        I agree braddah!  If you check her facebook now, she say she too tired to work this week so she flying to LA to get some rest.  Lol.  Wow.  Jet setta!  I wish I could just stop working cause I tired and go fly somewhere else.  Must be nice.  She lucky she can shop in LA if she wants to.  We have so few choices.

        • KiheiMaui87

          see what i mean she’s not even from here but yet she makes it as if she was born and raised here and as if the land means something to her.

          • kiheilocal

            what bothers me more than this development right now is the fact that this writer, according to her facebook page, is charging for yoga classes in a county park..Kamaole I. Do you a permit for this, lady?Maybe you can rent a office in the new mall.

          • Pherstys

            funny. wish it weren’t at my expense. very funny, tho’.

          • kiheilocal

            do you have a permit….i dont think county parks allow commercial activities without one.

          • Pherstys

            just doing something low-key for friends temporarily. not a big deal, no.

          • Pherstys

            wow. you really don’t know me. please  do not judge me so  harshly. i want growth. just smart growth. and where the developers have to get community input.  and you do not have to b born here to love this land. or any land.

        • Pherstys

          so  much judgement based on my race. i understand but  i am not who you paint  me  to be.                              

          • Leilani Kawena

            You are everything we paint you to be cause we are judging you based on your actions, your posts on facebook, your letters.  You dont thnk you need permits to do business in a county parks.? You are better than us locals who try to follow the rules?  No cares about your opinion.  Maui needs more choices.  You can jet off to LA anytime you want and get what you want.  We cant.  So bugger off.

      • Pherstys


  • LowerPrices Needed

    I agree, this mall is meant for us. While you post about the jobs, there are going to be high paying construction jobs while the mall is being built and most retailers pay a decent wage. From talking to business owners here on Maui, they’d rather higher older adults who are more focused on working and supporting the community vs. teenagers waiting for that next great surfing day. Having previously served on a commission, I have seen how a development like this in a small community can help build it and I’ve also seen where people who are opposed to moderate growth can shoot great ideas down. I’m looking forward to having this mall.

    • KiheiMaui87

      My dad is a construction worker and have said that most job sites have a mix of local and outsiders working together, and as for this job he said its the same it would never be all mainland people flying in to build it. He said he doesn’t know where this lady is getting her information from but she is wrong.

      • Pherstys

        point taken.

    • Pherstys

      point taken.

  • Mike

    Having lived in Kihei nearly my entire life, I am opposed to this project.  The amount of development I’ve seen in Kihei over the years has been ridiculous.  If I wanted huge malls and massive development, I’d live in Honolulu, or at least Kahului.  Don’t let Kihei turn into Waikikihei!

  • YAYO


  • MauiJimK

    I agree with you that development should go through the proper channels so it is done right for the people of Maui.

    But …..

    “Pave Paradise” isn’t quite on the mark.  I’m not sure when the last you drove the Pi’ilani … but mauka Pi’ilani doesn’t look too Paradise to me.  It actually looks like what all of South Maui would look like if it weren’t for 40+ years of PVC pipe.

    A planned center sounds good to me.  On the surface, the primary effects would be less business for Kahului and Lahaina … and less traffic on the Mokulele.

    Like most who live in South Kihei, I am kama’aina … a Mainland ex-pat.  I’m here because Maui is not (yet) O’ahu … but I’m also here because Maui is not still Molokai’i.  That’s a whole lot of good (and bad) news.  There are plenty more on the Mainland, too who have their sights set here.  You won’t (can’t) turn back the clock, and yes, some day South Maui will be a Waikiki – fortunately, not yet.

    A planned commercial center mauka of the Pi’ilani is less offensive to me than The Shops at Wailea, and even that center is nicer than the sprawl of strip malls we have in Kihei. 

    I think South Maui has a wonderful opportunity to grow responsibly.  Let’s develop on top of the Pi’ilani for commercial needs … and leave the coastal areas … a Paradise.


    • Leilani Kawena

      This braddah gets it!

  • shelikebeef

    Oh yay , another bitter old transplant laying claim to what isn’t actually her aina.
    I’m so sick of people like her complaining every time something new is getting built.
    I’m sure you treasure your leisurely walks through the kiawe laden cattle lands where they intend to build , but all the rest of us will enjoy not having to drive to kahului after a 10 hr work day, just to arrive at Costco as they close. Do you think the tourist resorts will ever cease or desist? No, they won’t… They’ll always be building the latest and greatest to attract the tourists. Unfortunately, our local economy relies heavily on tourism. So that being said, don’t us locals at least deserve somewhere new to go for shopping and entertainment also? I suggest you go back to wherever you came from, its people like you that stunt the very ideas that will benefit the people who actually belong here.

    • Pherstys

       we are all transplants here. look at your history. this is just one person’s opinion. i don’t think you guys need to get so personal. if you disagree, fine. that’s totally cool.

      • shelikebeef

        Eh lady.. you’re dead wrong. We are not all transplants who came out here as adults with high maka maka chips already on their shoulders . My history – I was born and raised here, my family runs 5 generations deep in Hawaii, and before that I can trace my family’s heritage back to the 1800’s so you best stick to speaking for yourself. Your facebook is public enough that plenty people can easily see how obscene your life is.. u better check yourself before u go making uneducated assumptions that have no validity.

  • pumpyobreaks

    Hey, everybody get one complaint hotline number (801) 891-9635… We should all give dis chic a call cheeee

  • Bumpy

    You can google her name and see she been making pilikia since she arrived from Utah.  She came off da plane already trying to tell us how to live, and what we should have here and what we shouldnt.  Please go back to the mainland.

  • Red

    good stuff to read.

  • Bumpy

    I see 
    Celeste Keele has locked up her facebook page from public view.  LOL.  Embarrassed by your life, perhaps?  What do you got to hide?

  • kihei24

    finally kihei is getting something nicer and better then the other cities on maui it puts kihei in the spotlight, now i can finally save my trips to the mall in town and just walk to this one. better shops better location hey what more could i ask for. build is now please :)