Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Editorial | Our View

January 4, 2020
Updated 6:00 pm

Aloha Stadium leadership

So the ambitious redevelopment vision for Halawa includes a new stadium — but is it also becoming a political football?

In July, the governor signed Act 268 into law — the former House Bill 1586 passed by the Legislature got the ball rolling on the new Aloha Stadium Entertainment District. The act authorizes $350 million in state funding to seed a public-private redevelopment of the 96-acre site, to include a smaller stadium, mixed-use retail and commercial spaces, and of course, much-needed housing units.


The act also gave authority for developing the district to the state Hawaii Community Development
Authority — a reasonable move given HCDA’s experience in complex land-use matters honed from
overseeing Kakaako’s revitalization. HCDA has received its share of criticism over aspects such as
insufficient affordable housing requirements, but seems to have improved its community

But now, executive director Aedward Los Banos is leaving HCDA, and this week, the Star-Advertiser’s
Ferd Lewis reported that talk is swirling about shifting HCDA to an advisory role, deferring development
of the project to the Stadium Authority and the state Department of Accounting and General Services
(DAGS). Currently, the governor-appointed, nine-member Stadium Authority governs the use and
management of the stadium only. The rationale given for this proposed shift is the desire to expedite
completion of a new 35,000-seat stadium in time for the 2023 University of Hawaii football season, and
that hedging by the 17-member HCDA board could slow progress. Ironically enough, DAGS itself does
not have a great reputation for quick and clear operations.

Expect a bill in the upcoming Legislature to try to clearly delineate roles and responsibilities, said one
state senator. Good luck with that, given at least three state agencies, and various politicians, in this
turf battle. Taxpayers, keep your eyes on the ball.