Honolulu Star-Advertiser


By Ferd Lewis
January 25, 2020

Jurisdiction for the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District project would be transferred from the Hawaii Community Development Authority to the Aloha Stadium Authority under a bill in the state Legislature.

Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Kalihi, Pearl Harbor), one of the bill’s authors, said the intent of Senate Bill 3167 is to keep the $350 million NASED project on schedule and on budget for a projected fall 2023 opening.

“Last year’s proposal had the Stadium Authority utilizing the power of HCDA to move the stadium forward,” Wakai said. “But we felt why do the second step? Why not empower the stadium with all of HCDA’s powers?”

The HCDA was not immediately able to comment.

Wakai said, “We didn’t want to see two government agencies fighting. For example, if HCDA wanted to put more housing on the land and the Stadium (Authority) didn’t feel that was appropriate, I mean, that discussion could hang this thing up for months. So, we didn’t want any of those type of conflicts to slow down the project. What you have in front of you now is just a better, stronger, more robust Stadium Authority.”

A section in the bill would provide $1 million to “staff-up” planners or engineers that the Stadium Authority may lack.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of HCDA’s exit from the project, Senate Bill 3166 would add two members to the current nine-member Stadium Authority from adjacent neighborhoods to provide residents a stronger voice in the project.

According to the bill, one member would be resident of Aiea or Halawa and another would be from Foster Village, Crosspointe or Alii Plantation.

“Rep. (Aaron Ling) Johanson (D, Moanalua, Aiea) and I felt that having (the area’s) input would be ensured by two local neighborhood residents on that board,” Wakai said.

Another measure, House Bill 2285, would make a $1.13 million “emergency appropriation … to address foregoing costs for the stadium.”

It would include funding for annual structural inspections now that a consultant’s report has recommended that such examinations no longer be biennial due to the deteriorating state of the 45-year-old facility.