Iwi stalls construction plans for Kailua Target

Target Kailua

Construction on a new Target store in Kailua started nearly two years ago.

So why is it still far from being built?

Part of the problem deals with iwi discovered at the site.

Two sets of remains were found last year and since then, construction has stopped.

The property that was once occupied by the Don Quijote Store remains fenced in and covered with black tarp. Construction began in July 2011 and some Windward Oahu residents have been wondering when the store will open its doors.

“It’s a lot nicer than looking at the eyesore that’s there right now so yeah I welcome that,” says Waimanalo resident Sandee Phillips.

There had been some opposition when the project was proposed, occupying 130,000 square feet.

“There’s a traffic concern, obviously, you bring more traffic in this area and this already sometimes gets a little inconvenient,” says Waimanalo resident Robert Mueller.

That wasn’t enough to stop it. Instead iwi discovered during trenching work now has Target working with Native Hawaiians to work out a burial plan.That burial plan will have to be approved by the State Historic Preservation Division and by the Oahu Island Burial Council before construction can resume.

“We’re hopeful to open the store in October 2014, but again we’re going to be extremely sensitive to the iwi that is in place and make sure that is treated appropriately,” said Target’s Brian Treber.

Treber says the company and the group of descendants have agreed on a plan which was supposed to be presented to the Burial Council Wednesday, but the hearing was delayed. He says there’s been no problems coming to an agreement.

“None whatsoever. It has gone extremely well and we found them to be very wise descendant group with very good recommendations,” he says.

Treber says there’s also no more digging planned for the project, so now it’s a just a matter of getting approval from the state agencies.

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