Honolulu Star-Advertiser


By Ferd Lewis

July 8, 2020

State lawmakers are poised this week to pass the last major piece of stadium legislation before the state begins soliciting bids for a public-private partnership in the development of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District.

Senate bill 2940, authored by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres), would transfer the authority to lease lands within the stadium development district from the Hawaii Community Development Authority to the Aloha Stadium Authority, including the expenditure of general funds and the issuance of revenue and and general revenue bonds.

The bill also adds two residents from the stadium area to the Aloha Stadium Authority as voting members.

It is scheduled to go to the senate today and be voted upon Friday. The Legislature is scheduled for recess Thursday and then adjourn after Friday’s session.

If passed, the bill would go to Gov. David Ige for signature. He would have 45 days in which to decide whether to sign it.

The bill has been described as “imperative” and “the last piece of the puzzle” as the state attempts to maintain a timeline for the issuance of a request for proposals from priority-listed developers this month and work toward a September 2023 opening of the new facility.

Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson (D, Aiea-Moanalua), in whose district the stadium sits, said the smooth passage, so far, “Has, I think, been a testament to the fact that people recognize that for too long the Aloha Stadium campus has sat sort of fallow. Underutilized is probably the best way to say it and the taxpayers should get a better return on their investment.”

Johanson said, the NASED project “Will be a boost for the construction industry and the predictability for them moving forward is also important for them in this time of economic crisis where we have so many people who are jobless and so little economic activity right now.”

Johanson said, “I cannot emphasize enough what a huge boon and benefit it would be to our community to also have something that not only marries that state infrastructure with how we incorporate that community, bring it in and make it whole. I just think it is a win/win for everyone.”

A committee is expected to announce its choice of three priority-listed developers later this month from a list of six that responded to the May 26 request for qualifications.

The state has appropriated up to $350 million for the project with the developer also contributing to the final total.