(Feb 20, 2015, 2:52pm HST, Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business News)
Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, will open its new two-story flagship Hawaii store in Honolulu across from Ala Moana Center on Saturday at 9 a.m., the Illinois-based company’s Hawaii district manager told PBN.
Located at 1488 Kapiolani Blvd. at the corner of Keaaumoku Street, the 35,576-square-foot store, which employs about 125 people, is Walgreen Co.s (NYSE: WAG) 15th flagship store in the United States and 18th location in Hawaii.
“This was a big project and something we felt we wanted to do for the Honolulu community,” Scott Sutton, Hawaii district manager for Walgreens, told PBN. “This is not a typical store, so we want to make sure it fits right for everyone.”
The company opened its first Hawaii store about eight years ago at the site of the new store, in a former leased space that had previously been a Tower Records. About three years later, Walgreens bought the former Tower Records site and a neighboring KFC for $15.05 million.
The original store was 11,000 square feet with 20 employees and just eight parking spots. By stark contrast, this new flagship store is more than triple the size, has more than 100 additional e
It also includes the company’s first Sunglass Hut in-store location, as well as a pharmacy aimed at encouraging greater interaction between pharmacists and patients, a beauty department, beer cave, food items, cafe, souvenirs, frozen yogurt and a sushi station.
Several local businesses also have their products for sale at the store, including Hawaiian Chip Co.
The store will be open 24 hours and seven days a week, with the second-floor pharmacy open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The store’s design includes several architectural elements unique to its location, including references to mauka and makai (mountain and sea) through format, colors and lighting.
The 14,267-square-foot first floor represents the sea and the 12,643-square-foot second floor represents the land. Above the first floor space netting is displayed to portray the fishing culture that previously was part of the area.
Honolulu-based firms Architects HawaiiLtd. and dck pacific construction did the work on the new flagship store.
Late last year, Walgreens put this store’s property on the market for another firm or investor to own the property and lease it back to the drugstore chain. Walgreens purchased the property from Kourin Hong Kong Ltd. in 2007 for $24.2 million.
In a similar arrangement, Walgreens recently sold its property on Beretania Street in Honolulu to the Honolulu-based real estate investment and development firm The Malulani Group Ltd. for $28 million, as first reported by PBN.