I learned that the company for which they work, General Growth Properties, had purchased the mall in 1999 and since then have been working hard to renovate and expand the property, and bring in more upscale merchants, restaurants and bars. Having spent a reported $810 million to purchase Ala Moana Center they were going to ensure the future success of the property and the only way to do that was to expand the Center's offerings to appeal not only to locals but to the millions of tourists that visit Oahu each year.
If all Ala Moana could offer was a "mall experience" it was unlikely to draw many visitors to Oahu, especially visitors from North America. Japanese visitors have always loved the Ala Moana Center where they can shop for items that are either not available in Japan or which cost much too much back home.
What the new owners realized is that the Ala Moana Center needed to become a tourist destination and not just a large shopping mall. Part of that vision is why my friend Erica was hired as the Director of Tourism. The work of improving the quality of tenants would only help so much. They needed to develop other reasons for visitors to make time in their schedules to visit the Center.