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Landowners regroup on plans for Awase

Date Posted: 2009-06-25

With only months to go before the Awase Golf Course becomes history, landowners are reorganizing to make plans on exactly how they’ll use the property once it leaves U.S. military control.

Awase Golf Course, which for decades was a U.S. Army golf course before being handed to the Marine Corps in the early 1970’s, is slated to close in a few months and the land returned to Japanese control. A new 18-hole, par-72 course, complete with a 240+-yard driving range, will soon open on the site of the former Kadena Ammunition Storage Area in Okinawa City. There’s to also be a two-story club house with pro shop, as well as a putting green.

The land owners have formed the Kitanakagusuku Village Awase Golf Course Land Management Association, with Nobuo Higa as its chairman. The group will coordinate with the owners of Aeon Group on the land’s future. Aeon Group announced several years ago it would build a three-story Jusco Mall, Okinawa’s largest mall, on the site. There are 334 landowners with rights to the Awase property.

Aeon Group promised the sprawling mall would house 150-200 stores and shops, as well as a hospital and a movie theater, plus parking for thousands of patrons. When the announcement was made in 2006, the deputy chief of Nakagusuku Village’s Planning and Development Division, Shigeru Ota, said about half the current golf course property would be covered by the first floor of the new Jusco Mall.

The mall, says Aeon Group, is expected to garner more than $260 million in annual sales from 40 million shoppers. The Jusco representatives say the mall’s many stores and ancillary businesses will provide employment for an estimated 2,800.

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