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Walgreen buys Safeway land

The drugstore chain and Petco will open new locations in 2012 on Beretania Street

By Kristen Consillio

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 12:35 a.m. HST, Aug 26, 2010


Walgreen Co. has acquired Safeway Inc.'s Honolulu site on Pensacola and Beretania streets for $22.5 million to open another Oahu store in 2012.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based drugstore chain, with as many as nine Hawaii projects in the works, intends to remodel the existing Safeway building to make way for a 14,820-square-foot Walgreens and a 12,000-square-foot Petco, also expected to open in 2012. Safeway is moving next year to a nearby location formerly occupied by Schuman Carriage Motors Inc.'s automobile dealership.

Walgreens also signed a lease to open its first Big Island location next summer at the former Borders site in Hilo's Waiakea Center on the corner of Makaala Street and Kanoelehua Avenue. Borders closed Saturday.

"We believe Hawaii's going to be a strong market for us, and we believe that people appreciate what we offer," said Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger. "The stores that we've opened in Hawaii have been very successful."

National retail chains typically tend to generate higher volumes here than they do on the mainland, though occupancy costs are higher than most markets across the country, according to Jeff Arce, a partner at the MacNaughton Group.

As a result, big-name retailers, including Target Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp. and CVS Caremark Corp., owner of Longs Drugs, are aggressively scooping up real estate that becomes available throughout the islands.

"Hawaii is one of the few places in the nation where they can expand," Arce said. "Hawaii appears to be a pretty well-insulated market -- it's hard to find sites here. Once somebody commits to the market here, they're going to be really aggressive."

Walgreens has 7,545 stores nationwide, including five on Oahu and five on Maui.

The drug chain's rapid expansion over the next two years includes opening locations at the Nuuanu Shopping Center and in Kapolei on Oahu, as well as securing storefronts in Lihue on Kauai and Kona on the Big Island. It is also considering additional locations in Honolulu.

CORRECTION: Walgreen Co. plans to open a store in 2012 in the Beretania Street site that is now occupied by Safeway. A previous version of a promo to this story gave the opening date as 2021 and referred to the site as the former Safeway location.

"It's a very aggressive price in today's market," Mark Bratton, vice president of investment properties at Colliers Monroe Friedlander Inc., said of what Walgreen paid to acquire the site.

The densely populated Makiki area makes for an attractive location, being "in the heart of the city on the way to Ala Moana."

"Everybody has to go by it, there's good parking, it's a recipe for great sales," he said.






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