After decades of decay and maintenance problems, Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium will be replaced after Hawaii Gov. David Ige officially approved $400 million for an entertainment district that features a new multi-purpose stadium as its centerpiece.
The New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) will be located on the 98-acre site of the current stadium on the island of O‘ahu on the existing site in the western part of Honolulu. The $420 million project includes the demolition of the existing stadium which has not hosted any events since 2020 when it was closed due to financial issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the $400 million allotted for the project, $350 million will come from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), and the remaining $50 million will come from the Stadium Development Special Fund.
“Securing the funding for NASED… was an important milestone that we celebrate with our surrounding communities, who were involved from the very start,” says Chris Kinimaka, Public Works Administrator for Hawaii’s Department of Accounting and General Services.
The new stadium will be smaller than the original, going from a capacity of 50,000 seats to approximately 35,000 seats. It will be configured to support a variety of sports and entertainment events, including football, soccer, rugby and other sports that are played on a rectangular field.
In addition, concerts, community functions and family-oriented events will be hosted in the facility.
According to Kinimaka, the government expects to complete an environmental impact statement and move forward with request for proposals for the public-private partnership to design and construct both the Stadium and Real Estate projects.
The contract is anticipated to be awarded in the third quarter of 2023 with stadium construction expected to begin soon after, according to the NASED website. The new stadium is slated to complete by the end of 2025, making it ready for the 2026 college and high school football season.
Constructed in 1975 at a cost of $37 million, the original Aloha Stadium was home to the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team. The venue has also been used other sporting and entertainment events including hosting the National Football League’s Pro Bowl between 1979 and 2016.
Maintenance issues have plagued the facility from the beginning. The stadium was built with a weathering steel designed to rust until a protective patina formed. The salinity of the air in Hawaii affected this process and prevented the stabilization of the weathering surface. After a lengthy legal battle over damages, the state and U.S. Steel, which produced the steel, reached a settlement. The rusting problem was only one of a number of issues that prompted multiple efforts by the state to finance repairs to the facility.
An assessment of the structure for the state by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. in 2018 catalogued a host of structural issues requiring attention in addition to the ongoing steel corrosion. A year later, the Hawaii State Legislature found the 47-year-old facility to be in “dire need” of significant repair and maintenance and ordered the creation of the development district.
Crawford Architects was appointed by the state in October 2018 to lead the master-planning and environmental impact statement work as part of a broader public-private partnership development plan.
Last January, the state selected two teams as finalists to develop the project. Aloha Halawa District Partners is led by Development Ventures Group Inc. and includes Stanford Carr Development LLC, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. and WATG SB Architects. Waiola Mixed-use Partners is comprised of Kobayashi Group, Design Partners Inc., Manica Architecture, Stantec, Nan Inc., A.C. Kobayashi, JMA Ventures LLC, BAMP Project, Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, SSFM International, Wilson Okamoto Corp., Nainoa Thompson and S.H.A.D.E.
A real estate component is the second part of the NASED project. It will comprise the development of approximately 70 acres of the overall 98-acre site and will be built over approximately 20 years, with an initial portion of the development complete and operational at the same time the new Aloha Stadium opens, say officials. The segment will include a mix of residential, retail, hotels and office space.