The Heart of Hilo, HI: Exploring Prince Kūhiō Plaza Mall

Celebrating the Legacy of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaole

Nestled in Hilo, Hawaii, Prince Kūhiō Plaza is a single-level regional shopping mall that honors the memory of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaole. As a Congressional Delegate from 1903 to 1922, the Prince played a crucial role in Hawaii’s history.

Today, the mall is the largest enclosed shopping center on the Island of Hawaii, offering more than 70 stores and services. Anchor tenants include T.J. Maxx, Macy’s, and Petco, providing visitors with diverse shopping options.

The Evolution of Prince Kūhiō Plaza

The Orchid Isle Group’s Vision

In 1977, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands sought to lease 39 acres of land at the crossroads of Pūʻāinakō Street and Kanoelehua Avenue for retail development.

The Orchid Isle Group, the sole bidder for the property, signed a 53-year lease on October 28, 1977, marking the beginning of a new era for Hilo’s retail landscape.

Welcoming Shoppers in 1985

After years of careful planning and construction, Prince Kūhiō Plaza officially opened in 1985. The mall has since undergone numerous changes in ownership, management, and store offerings, continually adapting to the community’s evolving needs.

Expansion and Ownership Transitions

In 2002, General Growth Properties acquired a 50% stake in the mall previously held by Homart Development Company, consolidating full ownership.

Prince Kūhiō Plaza continued to grow with the arrival of Macy’s in 2001, following their acquisition of the Liberty House store, and the opening of a JCPenney men’s, children’s, and home store in 2003.

Longs Drugs initiated legal action against the mall’s owner in 2004 for permitting the construction of a Safeway store. Despite this obstacle, the mall persevered and continued to attract new businesses.

First Hawaiian Bank launched a branch at the mall in 2013, followed by the opening of Old Navy and Pier 1 Imports stores in 2015.

Bidding Farewell to an Iconic Store

On January 29, 2021, the news broke that Sears would be closing its doors as part of a larger strategy to shut down 23 stores nationwide. As a result, the iconic store closed its doors at Prince Kūhiō Plaza on April 18, 2021.

Year Event
1977 Orchid Isle Group signed a 53-year lease
1985 Prince Kūhiō Plaza opened
2002 General Growth acquired a 50% interest in the mall
2001 Macy’s acquired the Liberty House store
2003 JCPenney store acquired by Macy’s
2004 Longs Drugs sued the shopping center owner
2013 First Hawaiian Bank opened a branch
2015 Old Navy and Pier 1 Imports opened stores
2021 Sears closed

Shopping in Hilo: A World of Choices

A visit to the mesmerizing Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is incomplete without stopping by Prince Kūhiō Plaza. The largest enclosed retail center on the Big Island of Hawaii offers a unique shopping experience featuring 55 designer and brand-name stores.

In addition to the abundant shopping options, visitors can enjoy a 9-screen movie theater and various dining choices.

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Family Fun at Prince Kūhiō Plaza

Prince Kūhiō Plaza is a shopping destination hub for family-friendly activities and entertainment. The mall frequently hosts events and activities for all ages, ensuring that every family member has a memorable experience.

Creating Memories at Prince Kūhiō Plaza

From shopping for the latest trends to catching a movie with friends or enjoying a delicious meal, there’s always something to do at Prince Kūhiō Plaza. The mall exudes a warm and inviting ambiance, establishing itself as the ideal location for forging unforgettable moments with family and friends.

Experience Hilo’s vibrant shopping scene at Prince Kūhiō Plaza, where a diverse range of stores, services, and entertainment options await visitors. With its rich history and commitment to providing a memorable experience for shoppers and families alike, Prince Kūhiō Plaza has become an iconic destination in Hilo, Hawaii.

Supporting Local Businesses and Entrepreneurs

In addition to housing well-known national brands, Prince Kūhiō Plaza is dedicated to supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs and housing famous national brands in addition to housing well-known national brands.

The mall offers a platform for homegrown retailers, artisans, and service providers to showcase their products and services, contributing to the local economy and fostering community.

Seasonal Events and Celebrations

Prince Kūhiō Plaza is more than just a shopping destination; it also serves as a gathering place for the community to come together and celebrate various occasions.

The mall hosts seasonal events, cultural festivities, and holiday celebrations throughout the year, providing a lively and festive atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Giving Back to the Community

Prince Kūhiō Plaza takes pride in its commitment to giving back to the community. Through various initiatives, charity events, and partnerships with local organizations, the mall strives to positively impact the lives of Hilo’s residents and create a strong sense of camaraderie within the community.

Next time you find yourself in Hilo, Hawaii, visit Prince Kūhiō Plaza and experience the best of the island’s shopping, dining, and entertainment scene. With its rich history and dedication to serving the community, it’s no wonder that Prince Kūhiō Plaza has become a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike.

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