The panel over­see­ing the Halawa venue sug­gests a smaller fa­cil­ity should be built

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Ferd Lewis

The Aloha Sta­dium Au­thor­ity is rec­om­mend­ing that the state seek an­cil­lary de­vel­op­ment to help un­der­write a new, slightly smaller sta­dium on land sur­round­ing the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing 42-yearold Aloha Sta­dium.

The rec­om­men­da­tions, the big­gest steps yet in a nearly 3-1/2-year process to de­ter­mine the fu­ture of the rust­ing 50,000-seat fa­cil­ity, were con­tained in a three­p­age res­o­lu­tion adopted at Thurs­day’s au­thor­ity meet­ing and emailed to Gov. David Ige and state law­mak­ers. The vote was 5-0 with four mem­bers ab­sent and was timed in ad­vance of next week’s open­ing of the Leg­is­la­ture, where the au­thor­ity hopes to gain back­ing for its po­si­tion.

It will be up to Ige and the Leg­is­la­ture whether the state takes the next likely step, a re­quest for pro­posal,

to de­velop por­tions of the nearly 100-acre property in Halawa. The sta­dium it­self oc­cu­pies ap­prox­i­mately 11.5 acres.

Last year the au­thor­ity posted a re­quest for in­for­ma­tion that a spokesman said prompted re­sponses from sev­eral “well-known en­ti­ties” in the in­dus­try, which he de­clined to name.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsut­sui’s deputy chief of staff, Ross Tsukenjo, at­tended part of the nearly two-hour closed­door ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion that pre­ceded the vote and said, “The lieu­tenant gov­er­nor is com­mit­ted to help­ing the sta­dium au­thor­ity board in any way that he can when they de­cide which­ever way they want to go.”

The new state comptroller, Rod­er­ick Becker, who con­cur­rently serves as di­rec­tor of the state De­part­ment of Ac­count­ing and General Ser­vices, which over­sees Aloha Sta­dium, also at­tended a por­tion of the ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion.

AU­THOR­ITY mem­bers and their con­sul­tants have briefed key leg­is­la­tors in re­cent weeks on stud­ies that in­di­cate a new fa­cil­ity “can be con­structed for an amount roughly com­pa­ra­ble, in­clud­ing mar­ket es­ca­la­tion, to the de­part­ment’s cur­rent es­ti­mate for health and safety re­pairs (of the cur­rent fa­cil­ity), de­pend­ing upon ma­te­ri­als se­lected for con­struc­tion, the ameni­ties in­cluded in the de­sign and the tim­ing of con­struc­tion, ex­clu­sive in all cases of trans­porta­tion im­prove­ments, re­me­di­a­tion and re­lated in­fra­struc­ture.” The sta­dium au­thor­ity is rec­om­mend­ing a fa­cil­ity with “30,000-35,000 per­ma­nent seats that is ex­pand­able to 40,000 for spe­cial events,” say­ing it “would cre­ate a more in­ti­mate en­vi­ron­ment sig­nif­i­cantly im­prov­ing the fan ex­pe­ri­ence, re­duce op­er­at­ing costs and fa­cil­i­tate an ef­fi­cient and more eco­nom­i­cal de­sign.” Aloha Sta­dium, the state’s largest out­door venue, opened in 1975 at a cost of $37 mil­lion. Thurs­day’s rec­om­men­da­tion, cit­ing a DAGS-com­mis­sioned study of the struc­tural in­tegrity of Aloha Sta­dium, said “that as of 2016 Aloha Sta­dium re­quires ap­prox­i­mately $300 mil­lion in crit­i­cal health and safety re­pairs to ex­tend the fa­cil­ity’s use­ful life and that the cost of such re­pairs, if un­ad­dressed, would grow at a rate of ap­prox­i­mately seven per­cent per an­num.”

THE RES­O­LU­TION said, “If the State funds ap­prox­i­mately $25.5 mil­lion per year, it would take at least 25 years for the State to com­plete the cur­rently-doc­u­mented ex­ist­ing re­quired re­pairs, to­tal­ing $637.5 mil­lion.”

The Aloha Sta­dium Au­thor­ity did not cite a price tag for the pro­posed new sta­dium, but re­cent es­ti­mates have var­ied from $200 mil­lion to $300 mil­lion, de­pend­ing on num­ber of decks, ma­te­ri­als used, ameni­ties and when the sta­dium is built.

A 2014 re­port by New York firm Fo­ley & Lard­ner, com­mis­sioned by the state, rec­om­mended a “30,000-35,000 seat sta­dium on the lower por­tion of the (cur­rent) sta­dium site” for $132 mil­lion to $192 mil­lion (in 2014 dol­lars). A sep­a­rate re­port by a Cal­i­for­nia firm com­mis­sioned by UH in 2014 con­cep­tu­al­ized a 30,585-seat mul­tipur­pose fa­cil­ity for $165 mil­lion to $190 mil­lion. It was not site-spe­cific. Thurs­day’s res­o­lu­tion comes as state of­fi­cials are in the fi­nal stages of try­ing to se­cure the lift­ing of fed­eral and city deed re­stric­tions on much of the Aloha Sta­dium property. The lift­ing of the deeds, which have been in place since the 1970s, would al­low the state to part­ner with builders on de­vel­op­ing por­tions of the land for more than recre­ational uses.

The sta­dium au­thor­ity said the rail sta­tion be­ing built at Aloha Sta­dium cre­ates “a unique op­por­tu­nity to lever­age in­creased tran­sit op­tions for sta­dium oper­a­tions and tran­si­to­ri­ented de­vel­op­ment,” and sug­gests that the new fa­cil­ity “could be fi­nanced over 25 years for ap­prox­i­mately the same an­nual con­tri­bu­tion nec­es­sary to com­plete all health and safety re­pairs.”

The res­o­lu­tion calls for build­ing the sta­dium “prior to any such an­cil­lary de­vel­op­ment.”


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