Honolulu Star-Advertiser

By Ferd Lewis

March 18, 2021

Even with University of Hawaii football no longer in the picture for stadium use in 2021, the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District will wait until sometime in 2022 before it begins tearing down the current facility, a NASED official said.

There had been wide speculation and discussion that with UH out of the way, that demolition process might be sped up.

“Our current plan is to wait until the stadium developer is selected (and) we expect to award a contract for the stadium developer by the end of quarter one, 2022,” Chris Kinimaka, Public Works Administrator for the Department of Accounting and General Services, said in response to questions from the Star-Advertiser.

NASED has identified three priority-listed, developer-led groups to receive request for proposals from which the winning group will be selected to partner with the state.

Kinimaka declined to put dates on the demolition process, saying, “The time frame for demolition is a matter we will work through with our shortlisted respondents as part of the procurement process.”

She said, “This (demolition) work will be competitively bid, so it’s difficult to provide an estimated cost at this time.”

In a March 1 letter from the Aloha Stadium Authority to UH regarding topics of a Dec. 17, 2020, meeting, the, Stadium Authority reaffirmed its stance on events at the 46-year-old facility, including “Issuance of a moratorium on all new bookings for use of the stadium for occupancy until further notice.”

In addition, the Stadium Authority noted, “As shared with you prior to the December (Stadium Authority) meeting, subject to the Authority’s legislative request for continued operational funding, the Authority would be able to commit to the use of the stadium for the 2021 football season in the same manner as the 2020 season — without fans. … The Stadium Authority remains supportive of hosting UH football games without fans but it must also pay serious attention to ensure foremost that the health and safety of the general public is paramount.

“Any future occupancy of the stadium for spectator events is dependent on the funding of outstanding health and safety repairs per recommendations of the structural consultant(s).”

UH is preparing to spend four years — or more — and upward of $6 million to retro-fit an on-campus home, the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex, until NASED opens.

The situation is vastly different from that of San Diego State, a rival of the Rainbow Warriors in the Mountain West Conference West Division.

The Aztecs moved out of San Diego Stadium following the 2019 season, playing their 2020 home games 115 miles away in Carson’s Dignity Health Sports Park, where they hosted UH in November. That has allowed SDSU, which bought 166 acres from the city of San Diego, to begin demolition of their 54-year-old home while adjacently beginning construction of the $310 million, 35,000-seat Aztec Stadium.

Photos in the San Diego Union Tribune recently showed the last of sections of the old stadium ready to be torn down by the end of this month while work progresses on the new facility toward a projected Sept. 4, 2022 opener against Arizona.