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Chronicling business in Hawaii since 1955

MALL SPRAWL

In November 1958, Hawaii Industry introduced readers to Ala Moana Center, then in its first phase of development. The mall opened to the public the following year. In April 1964, the magazine covered construction of the mall's second phase, which was anchored by Liberty House and JCPenney. "With the addition of the second increment, the Ala Moana Center will be the largest center in the world," the magazine noted. "The rapid arrival of the second phase is a direct result of the center's spectacular success. In Phase I, retail sales in 1963 totaled $52,750,000, or $76 per square foot of leasable space … 10 percent higher than in any other shopping center in the country."

Over the years, Ala Moana Center has undergone several renovations and amassed more than 200 tenants. Now owned by Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc. (NYSE:GGP), the mall remains one of the country's most profitable, with more than $900 in sales per square foot.

JOINT VENTURE

Rival dailies Honolulu Star-Bulletin and The Honolulu Advertiser established the Hawaii Newspaper Agency in 1962. The new entity would handle both papers' noneditorial operations. "Although the idea of setting up a mutual printing plant was discussed by the newspapers as far back as the 1930s, few people who knew the men and the times could ever imagine the possibility becoming a reality," Hawaii Business & Industry wrote in April 1963. "Times have changed, however. … With civic-minded Chinn Ho in control of the Bulletin and survival-minded Thurston Twigg-Smith holding the reins at The Advertiser, such a solution was made to order."

The two papers co-existed under the joint operating agreement (JOA) until 1999. That year, the Bulletin's then-owner, Liberty Newspapers Ltd. Partnership, announced plans to shut down the daily and terminate its JOA with Advertiser owner Gannett Co., in exchange for $26.5 million. The state attorney general's office and a local community group, Save Our Star-Bulletin, filed lawsuits to block the closing. Hawaii's U.S. District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the plaintiffs. Today, both papers operate independently. The Bulletin is owned by Canadian publisher Black Press Ltd. and a group of local investors, including Duane Kurisu, chairman of Hawaii Business' parent company, PacificBasin Communications LLC.

SUGAR SUBSTITUTE

"'The end of an era' bannered Kauai's Garden Island newspaper. Grove Farm Co., whose lands encompass the oldest successful sugar plantation in Hawaii, was indeed abandoning its sugar operations," Hawaii Business reported in October 1973. "Grove Farm has yet to be specific publicly about its future plans, indicating only that they include the 'development' of its properties. Grove Farm's decision to leave the industry comes at a sensitive time, … [after] some of Hawaii's oldest plantations have passed into history."

Grove Farm, a family-owned Kauai institution, was one of the few plantations to survive in Hawaii's post-sugar economy. The company successfully shifted its focus to real estate development. Unfortunately, like many businesses on Kauai, the company faced tough times when Hurricane Iniki struck in 1992. In 2000, then-AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case purchased the company - and its 22,000 acres - for about $26 million. Among the company's current projects: the $12 million renovation of Kukui Grove Shopping Center, which will conclude early next year.

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