June 23—Ho ‘omaka Marketplace, a community shopping center where proceeds from land leases will benefit Native Hawaiians in the Kapolei Homestead community, opened Wednesday morning.
The group organizing the creation of the market is the Kapolei Community Development Corp., a non-profit organization that will use proceeds for education, child care, job creation and the Kapolei Heritage Center, which serves family learning center and community center.
“For farm programs to be successful, we need to generate revenue from certain lands,” said Governor David Ige, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony. “This project is meaningful because it is the family community that comes together and is responsible for how we should use this plot in the best possible way to serve the community.”
Having the market within the family community is also important for accessibility reasons, Ige said.
The market will be located opposite the Macy’s side of the Ka Makana Ali’i mall. Construction will begin Monday and is expected to be complete by summer 2023. Major tenants in the market will include Longs Drugs, Chick-fil-A, Hele Gas and 7-Eleven.
Ownership of the market was assigned to the Kapolei Family Community by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for the purpose that it be developed and used to provide support income for the Kapolei Heritage Center, said KCDC Chairman Scott Abrigo.
“It’s a sustainable model, and we don’t have to go write for grants and stuff, because now we have a source of income,” Abrigo said. “Very difficult to execute, but we are finally here to realize the benefits of this model.”
The Kapolei Heritage Center, which will be funded by market proceeds, recently completed the first phase of its construction. Its certified kitchen and two classrooms have already been used by at least 13,000 people, Abrigo said. The second phase of construction will include a large hall, a gallery, a storefront and offices.
The marketplace will support Hawaiian kupuna, keiki, parents, ukulele, and olelo programs.
Along with Ige, the inauguration was also attended by state lawmakers Sen. Kurt Fevella, Sen. Mike Gabbard and Rep. Sharon Har.
Current and former KCDC board members also attended and spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. They expressed hope that the market will be a key community resource for future generations.
“It’s more than just a mall,” said former KCDC chairman Kuhio Lewis. “It’s a way to provide programs, services and support so we can get on with life.”