Hoowili retail, office center rises in Hilo


By HUNTER BISHOP

Tribune-Herald staff writer

A new, $1.2 million, two-story retail center and office building is going up at the intersection of East Kawili and Hinano streets.

Hilo dentist Craig Fujioka owns the corner property, but Janet Fujioka, self-described “gofer,” spokeswoman and mother of Dr. Fujioka, said her busy son acquired the commercially-zoned property for its “strategic location” about three years ago and waited for the right time to develop it.

“He likes to be positive about the island economy,” she said, which is now “showing positive signs even in Hilo.” Dr. Fujioka has other local real estate investments but “nothing of this scale,” she said.

Coldwell Banker Day-Lum Properties owner Nancy Cabral, whose firm is managing the property, said she’s discussing leases for space in the 4,980 square-foot building with two potential tenants now. Cabral said she’s not sure how many units there will be yet, however, since Fujioka is willing to configure the interior spaces according to what the tenants need. Units can be as small as 740 square feet.

“We can build to suit the tenant,” Cabral said, and each unit will have its own bathroom, no matter what size space is leased.

The builder, TNS Contracting, was even asked to delay installation of interior walls until Cabral gets a better idea of how much space tenants want, she said. “We’re not pushing it,” she said. “The basic shell is there.”

Cabral added that without an elevator, the new building, named Hoowili, will likely host offices on the second floor and retail space on the ground level.

Cabral sees the market picking up for these kinds of properties in East Hawaii. “There’s not a lot else available out there right now,” she said. Hilo Shopping Center, another property Day-Lum manages, is completely full now for the first time in six or seven years.

“It’s just kind of an exciting time,” said Cabral. “Residential is really heating up, along with condos and land.”

Cabral said the project could be completed by September.

Email Hunter Bishop at hbishop@hawaii tribune-herald.com.

 

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