Honolulu Star-Advertiser

By Dave Reardon

July 29, 2022
Updated 12:51 am

 

The money is now available, but construction of the new Aloha Stadium in Halawa won’t start until at least a year from now.


Prospective builders of the multiuse stadium and surrounding entertainment district will have eight months to develop and submit proposals. Then the state has four months to review the proposals and choose the winners, officials at Thursday’s monthly Stadium Authority meeting said.


The request-for-proposals process doesn’t begin until a month after a green light from the governor, and a completed environmental impact statement is still being reviewed for approval by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.


“This is all due diligence. It’s not going to take forever,” DBEDT Director and Stadium Authority board member Mike McCartney said. “We know (the EIS) is urgent, but the way the governor (David Ige) has taught me is do it good so we don’t have to do it again. We want everyone to be on the same page.”


Earlier this month Ige approved $400 million appropriated by the 2022 Legislature for a new 30,000-seat stadium at the site of the 50,000-seat facility, which opened in 1975. The old stadium was determined to be unsafe for further use in December 2020, nearly 15 years after a new stadium was first proposed by state lawmakers.


The year-plus for the EIS and proposal process contributes to why the new stadium is not expected to be ready for use until the 2026 football season.


“Obviously, the sooner the better,” University of Hawaii athletic director David Matlin said during Thursday’s meeting.


The UH football team was Aloha Stadium’s primary tenant. The Rainbow Warriors started playing their home games at UH’s on-campus 9,000-seat Clarence T.C. Ching field last season. Plans to expand Ching to 15,000 seats before the start of this season were put on hold, as UH cited supply chain issues.


Board member Michael Yadao questioned why it will take eight months to develop and submit proposals to build the new Aloha Stadium.


“There’s a lot more involved than just the stadium,” said Chris Kinimaka, public works administrator for the state Department of Accounting and General Services.


The preferred contractors (three for the stadium, two for the entertainment district) were announced in 2021 and early this year. While separate groups will build the stadium and the entertainment district, a winning proposal for the stadium must account for linking it to the rest of the project.


“Part of it is (the potential builders) didn’t know for sure if it was going to happen,” board member John Fink said.


Also:
>> Stadium manager Ryan Andrews discussed plans for online auctions of old Aloha Stadium memorabilia, including seats, to “begin by the end of the year and continue into next year.”
>> The board approved a New Year’s Eve concert and fireworks show in the stadium’s parking lot. The group putting on the event, Dream Weekend, did similar events at Aloha Tower and Kakaako Park.
>> Russell Uchida was approved as the stadium’s new deputy manager.

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