NELHA commercial center moving along

  • The new Matsuyama Commercial Center, if all goes as planned, could open sometime in 2020. (Courtesy rendering/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Matsuyama Commercial Center moved another step closer to fruition this week.

The proposed commercial complex on 1.36 acres on the makai side of Queen Kaahumanu Highway between Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport and Kailua-Kona received a finding of no significant impact allowing the project to move forward.

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“We look forward to working with the agency and developing something for the community,” Burke Matsuyama, of Mats4 LLC, said Monday. The final EA was included in the July 8 edition of the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s twice-a-month Environmental Notice.

The next step is executing a 30-year lease agreement with the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, which was contingent upon the EA’s completion. Thereafter, permits will have to be acquired and construction, which is expected to take about a year, can commence.

NELHA Executive Director Greg Barbour said the agency plans to bring the final proposed lease agreement to be signed by the NELHA board of directors before year’s end. Thereafter, it’s anticipated it will take between one and two years to obtain all planning approvals and permits and complete construction.

The new center, if all goes as planned, could open sometime in 2020, Barbour said.

The proposal includes a 2,450-square-foot convenience retail store with restrooms, a 2,500-square-foot kitchen and restaurant as well as covered and open seating areas, and a six-pump fueling station with three underground fiberglass storage tanks capable of holding 15,000 gallons each.

It would also include an initial two charging stations for electric vehicles and 37 parking spaces, including two that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The commercial center would be situated in NELHA’s “economic driver” zone, outlined in its 2011 master plan. The commercial center would be located on the northern corner of Kahilihili Street and Kaiminani Drive, makai of Queen Kaahumanu Highway.

It project would provide “much-needed” facilities and services on the makai side of Queen Kaahumanu Highway.

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Currently, there aren’t any other facilities for southbound traffic traveling on the highway from Waikoloa to Kailua-Kona — a 28-mile trek. The closest fueling station to the airport at Keahole is 1.8 miles south of the proposed commercial center, and on the highway’s mauka side.

“The project is a business that supports the NELHA’s business and education facilities and would provide a much-needed gas station, electric charging station, and convenience store on the makai side of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway,” the final document read.