Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Hawaii News

By Andrew Gomes

November 17, 2021

Aloha Stadium could come down in early 2023, based on a new state expectation for having a private developer replace the largely condemned facility in Halawa with a smaller arena.

The state Department of Accounting and General Services shared the timetable today as part of notifying three development teams that a request for stadium replacement proposals will be published Dec. 15.

DAGS previously said it anticipated issuing the request for proposals by the end of this year, but was mum on a potential construction timeline given uncertainty after moves earlier this year that included reducing state funding and splitting redevelopment of 73 acres of land surrounding the 25-acre stadium footprint into a separate project.

The three development teams were picked last December as the most qualified to compete for redeveloping the entire 98-acre site owned by the state, after six contenders responded to a request for qualifications.

Now the three teams will be asked to submit plans with designs and costs only for a new stadium, though they could submit separate bids for what DAGS is calling the real estate portion of what is envisioned to become the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District with homes, hotel rooms, retail and other commercial uses.

A request for qualifications and rough ideas pertaining to the real estate portion of the project was published last month, and construction could begin in late 2022 or early 2023 after more detailed bids are sought and a winner is selected.

Chris Kinimaka, public works administrator for DAGS, said in a statement that it is satisfying to notify the three finalists about the release date of the request for proposals for the job to replace the 46-year-old stadium.

“The issuance of the NASED Stadium Project RFP will mark another progressive milestone for the creation of a vibrant live-work-play-thrive district with a multiuse stadium serving as the centerpiece,” she said.

Two years ago, DAGS had an ambitious goal for stadium construction possibly starting this year to debut a replacement in 2023.

However, the coronavirus pandemic and difficulties passing state legislation to facilitate the project upset the earlier plan, which included building a new stadium with around 35,000 seats before tearing down the existing 50,000-seat stadium, which has suffered from chronic rust problems and deferred maintenance.

The changeup forced the University of Hawaii to hurriedly add much more seating and other accommodations to its football practice field on its main Manoa campus in order to host games this year and for at least several more seasons.

State lawmakers have made $170 million available to help finance what is estimated to be a $400 million new stadium in Halawa, after trimming an original $350 million appropriation earlier this year.

The three qualified bidders will be asked to design, finance and build the new stadium as well as maintain it to “suitable standards” for 30 years at an agreed-upon price. The Stadium Authority, a state agency that manages Aloha Stadium, would manage the new stadium.

Lead equity members of the three teams qualified to bid are:

>> John Laing Investments Limited, Civil &Building North America Inc. and Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co., operating as Aloha Stadium District Partners.

>> Plenary Americas US Holdings Inc. and PCL Investments Canada Inc., operating as Aloha Stadium Hui Hilina‘i.

>> EllisDon Capital Inc., Kobayashi Group LLC and BSC Acquisitions II LLC, operating as Waiola Development Partners.

Under the state’s plan, revenue from leasing real estate for up to 99 years to a private developer for residential and commercial uses around a new stadium would at least partially offset taxpayer expense for a new stadium.