Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Hawaii News

By Andrew Gomes

October 12, 2021

A competition to redevelop 73 acres of state land around Aloha Stadium is expected to get underway today.

State officials are scheduled to publish a request for qualifications from prospective developers and preliminary information about what a developer would propose and how it would complement a new stadium to be built under a separate prior offering to private developers.

The state Department of Accounting and General Serv­ices is calling the new invitation a “two-stage” request for proposals, or RFP, in which a committee of state officials and development industry experts will determine which responding bidders are qualified to advance to a second phase where more detailed proposals would be sought and lead to a winning bidder.

Chris Kinimaka, public works administrator at DAGS, said in a statement that state officials and their consultants are energized by reaching this stage in the procurement process for the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District, which has taken longer than forecast due to hurdles that included the impact from COVID-19 and efforts over a few years by the state Legislature to amend state law.

“Even though the pandemic caused delays, we stayed committed to fine-tuning the real estate RFP so it aligns with the feedback we received from key stakeholders and members of the community,” she said. “Now we’re ready to move forward with this important milestone and identify our project development partners.”

The state is offering a long-term lease for the 73 acres currently used mainly for parking, and the resulting development is expected to cost more than $1 billion.

Redevelopment ringing the roughly 20-acre stadium site in Halawa is expected to stretch over two decades or so and could include around 3,300 homes, 650 hotel rooms, retail space approximating the size of Kahala Mall and offices for roughly 800 workers, based on a state-commissioned market study.

However, it will be up to developers to propose their own mix and quantity of uses.

Redeveloping land around a new stadium is expected to generate long-term lease revenue for the state that can at least partially offset taxpayer costs for replacing 46-year-old Aloha Stadium with a smaller facility.

This financial benefit is one criterion for selecting a winning bidder. Production of affordable housing could be another.

A new, roughly 35,000-seat stadium to replace the 50,000-seat “Rust Palace” is projected to cost around $400 million.

State lawmakers have approved up to $170 million in general obligation bonds to pay for the new stadium, so the developer replacing the stadium is expected to front much of the expense while also maintaining the new facility over 30 to 40 years for an agreed-upon price as the state’s Stadium Authority manages the new stadium.

Originally, state officials envisioned one developer would replace the stadium and redevelop surrounding real estate, but that plan changed earlier this year.

Three development team finalists remain qualified to submit stadium replacement proposals after they were selected in December. An RFP for this piece of the plan is expected to be issued in the next few months.

The RFP for land around the stadium site is scheduled to be posted at 3 p.m. today at nased.hawaii.gov.

DAGS expects to pick a short list of preferred developers in January and possibly sign a contract with a winning bidder by September.