By Ferd Lewis
January 4, 2020
Updated 10:29 pm
The departure of Aedward Los Banos as the executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority comes as the state tries to clarify what the HCDA’s role will be in the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District while keeping the $350 million project on track to a 2023 opening.
Legislators have mandated that the stadium be ready in time for the University of Hawaii’s Sept. 2, 2023 home opener against Albany.
Los Banos, who has been with HCDA for five years, the past year and a half as executive director, is expected to leave at the end of the month for a position at the University of Hawaii. The posted agenda for the HCDA’s meeting Wednesday lists an action item regarding an appointment of an interim replacement.
“That is also causing some issues, but we are having that discussion with the different entities and will also be talking to the executive branch about how to move forward, because I don’t want the exit of the executive director to (slow) this project,” said Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Makiki, Punchbowl).
Leaders of the two powerful money committees — Luke, who chairs the House Finance Committee, and Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Wahiawa, Mililani Mauka), who chairs the Ways and Means Committee — have been adamant that the facility open on time and on budget.
The HCDA, Aloha Stadium Authority and Department of Accounting and General Services all are to have major roles in shaping the replacement for the 45-year-old stadium. But conflicting legal opinions regarding Act 268, which established and funds NASED in July, prompted uncertainty over their roles.
“That created a huge amount of confusion, because now both the HCDA and the Stadium Authority
think that they control the construction and the building out (of the project),” Luke said.
Luke said legislators have met with the agencies to say that the intent of Act 268 was for the ninemember
Stadium Authority to have oversight. “They are the ones that eventually have to manage the
stadium.,” Luke said.
Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Kalihi, Pearl Harbor) and Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson (D, Moanalua, Aiea), whose
districts take in Aloha Stadium, will draft legislation for submission in the session that starts Jan. 15
precisely laying out roles and responsibilities.
“We need to do some tweaking of that language to make the legislative intent clear, because we don’t
want this whole thing to get bogged down with who is the point (agency),” Luke said. “It is clear in our
minds, but it is not clear in all these other agencies running it.”
A request for qualification solicitation is scheduled to go out this month. An RFQ is issued to gauge
levels of private sector interest in the project and assist the state in short-listing those who are able to
demonstrate qualifications to undertake a so-called P-3 public-private partnership of this size.
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