The Aloha Stadium Authority is recommending that the state invest in a new, slightly smaller stadium on land surrounding the deteriorating 42-year-old Aloha Stadium and seek ancillary development of the site to help fund the project.
The recommendations came in the form of a resolution voted on at today’s authority meeting and sent to Gov. David Ige and state lawmakers this evening.
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 Gov. Ige and the Legislature to decide whether the process goes forward with the likely next step a request for proposal from developers.
An earlier request for information elicited several responses from what a stadium spokesman characterized as “well-known entities” in the industry who he declined to name.
Stadium Authority consultants have briefed key legislators in recent weeks on studies that indicate a “state-of-the-art stadium facility can be constructed for an amount roughly comparable, including market escalation, to the department’s current estimate for health and safety repairs, depending on the 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.”
The Stadium Authority said the building of a rail station on the site affords “a unique opportunity to leverage increased transit options for stadium operations and transit-oriented development.”
The 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium, the state’s largest outdoor arena, opened in 1975 at a cost of $37 million.
The Stadium Authority did not put a price tag on what a new stadium would cost, but some estimates have ranged from $200 million to $300 million, depending upon when it is built, materials involved and amenities.
According to the recommendation, which cited a DAGS-commissioned study of the structural integrity of Aloha Stadium, “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 un-addressed, would grow at a rate of approximately seven percent per annum.”
The resolution said “assuming no additional health and safety repairs arise, 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.”
A 2014 study by the New York firm of Foley & Lardner 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 multi-purpose facility for $165 million to $190 million. It was not site specific.