After more than 19,000 signatures to an online petition and pushback from the community, Alexander & Baldwin announced today it would retain all 17 monkeypod trees at Manoa Marketplace. One, however, will have to be relocated.
A&B, which owns the property, said it would repave the center’s parking lot to address safety concerns while installing new planters or expanding existing ones around most of the monkeypods to contain further growth of their roots.
“We’re a local company and we take our commitment to our local communities very seriously,” said Chris Benjamin, A&B president and CEO in a press release. “It is important to us to balance preserving the character of Manoa Marketplace and addressing these safety concerns.”
Since October, A&B said it has been meeting with members of the community to address changes to Manoa Marketplace and complaints the company had received about the safety of its parking lot.
A&B had originally planned to remove seven trees and relocate two because their roots were breaking up the asphalt in the center’s parking lot, while replacing others with a difference species. The monkeypod roots, now painted yellow, are visible in the parking lot between Safeway and Long’s Drugs.
One monkeypod tree will have to be relocated, said A&B, to a spot alongside the Manoa stream along the border of the parking lot because its roots are blocking the primary drain that collects water runoff. A&B also will need to trim and prune the tree canopies to ensure that they remain stable with their roots contained within planters.
Manoa Alliance launched the petition on New Year’s Day asking to save the nine monkeypod trees at the shopping center and received more than 10,000 within the first week. As of 11 a.m., the petition had 19,435 signatures.
A&B said the parking lot improvements are part of an ongoing effort to address deferred maintenance issues at Manoa Marketplace, which it acquired in 2016. A&B will also be upgrading the air conditioning systems this year to improve performance and energy efficiency, and make extensive repairs to the center’s roofs.