Honolulu Star-Advertiser

By Ferd Lewis

February 25, 2020

The target date for the state’s issuance of a request for qualifications from prospective developers of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District will apparently be pushed back for a third time.

The RFQ, which asks interested parties to submit their previous experience, financial wherewithal and other qualifications to be considered for participation in the $350 million project, was originally targeted for Halloween 2019. Later, that was adjusted to the end of December 2019 and then January 2020.

Now the projected date is “during the first quarter of 2020,” a state Department of Accounting and General Services official said in a statement, replying to questions from the Star-Advertiser.

The stadium is still projected to open in September 2023, officials said.

“We chose to hold the RFQ release to ensure we could clearly outline the State’s project governance approach with regards to Hawaii Community Development Authority, DAGS, and the Stadium Authority,” said Chris Kinimaka, Public Works Administrator for DAGS.

“This is particularly important to the market of potential developers and to setting ourselves up for a successful procurement process,” Kinimaka said. “With the current legislation moving forward to refine and streamline development oversight, we are making final preparations for the release of the RFQ, which will still be during the first quarter of 2020.”

“I think there is still some cushion in there. If we were in the summer, heaven forbid, and we were still waiting, then there might be some cause for concern,” said State Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Kalihi, Pearl Harbor).

Wakai and Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson (D, Moanalua, Aiea), in whose districts the stadium is located, have sponsored bills currently before the Legislature concerning the stadium.

Senate bill 2940, introduced by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa), seeks to clarify the roles of the Stadium Authority, HCDA and DAGS in streamlining the NASED project.

Originally, HCDA was to have taken the lead, but Senate Bill 2940 would give the Stadium Authority oversight. Testimony from the HCDA’s interim executive director, Garett Kamemoto, supports the amendments proposed by DAGS as being, “… in the bests interests of the state.”

Wakai said the Attorney General’s office has determined that issuance of the RFQ does not have to wait until the passage of the bill.