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Aloha Stadium Authority proposing new, smaller stadium

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The sun set on Aloha Stadium during the first half of a Sept. 13, 2014, football game between Hawaii and Northern Iowa.

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.

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      • More shibai from another state government agency without a clue how deep in debt state finance are. With this statement, “The Aloha Stadium Authority (ASA) is recommending that the state invest in a new, slightly smaller stadium,”

        First rule ASA willfully failed to understand. Stadiums do not meet the standards for an investment. Investments make money, stadiums do not. Always require maintenance, other expenses. Just like rail, always another taxpayer money pit.

        New stadium must be built to LEED standards to reduce energy costs. This will allow more ticket money to go towards paying the state back, ensures required maintenance is done on time, to standard.

        New stadium should consider a version of “Sky Boxes” to raise money from those who will pay for a premium experience. Shaded seating would be a real winner.

        Parking lot size must be commensurate with seating. Do not over anticipate rail ridership to stadium events. Wait a year or two to see how it works out, then any unneeded land can go to other uses.

        Dump the current stadium low class food and beverage service to allow name brand, local companies to sell. San Diego’s Petco Park does this, food and drink selection is awesome.

        Support family attendance by offering a low cost hot dog & drink combo for under $5. No need to continue the current low class rip off food pricing plan.

  • 35,000 seats? Why bother? Such small thinking. I remember the early 90s when UH football regularly sold out 50,000 seat Aloha Stadium. We could well be on our way back to that level of success. Maybe a smaller venue is needed for things like concerts, but a larger stadium will still be needed for a major college program like UH football. Not much room in Manoa, maybe it needs to go out toward Kapolei.

      • Boise stadium is around 36,000. If its full it’ll feel like 50,000. If not enough seats just raise the price and the one’s who want to go will pay I’d rather see a half full 35,000 seater than a 50,000 seater.

    • It’s not small thinking, it’s smart thinking. Why pay for 15,000 seats that might be used 6 to 8 times per year? When UH starts selling out, they raise ticket prices and PPV prices and make more money.

      • Two things to remember: First, UH doesn’t control PPV prices, rather the cable network does. And second, UH cannot raise ticket prices significantly above PPV prices because that will induce ticket buyers to switch to PPV.

        Now let’s assume the football program gradually regains its past popularity. Since the cable network has no limit on how many PPV packages it can sell, it can make more money by keeping the price down and selling lots more PPV packages than it can from jacking up the price. If that happens and the stadium has been downsized, UH will have a big problem because it will not be able to significantly raise ticket prices and it will not have excess seat inventory to sell. The end result is that UH will forego millions of dollars in lost ticket revenue.

  • At least they don’t have to worry about the pro bowl coming back here if they decide to scale back the stadium like that. As the saying goes, penny wise, pound foolish. Good thing they didn’t think that way when building the Stan Sheriff arena. If they want to build a small 30K seat stadium, then they might as well just build it at UH Manoa campus instead.

    • Tell me again why the Stan Sheriff Center needs to be as big as it is? Because men’s basketball is such a big draw? Women’s volleyball? I can count on two hands the number of times there has been more than 8,000 fans actually inside the Sheriff Center in the past 10 years. And a few of them have been Lakers games.

      • You have a very short memory. I’m a season ticket holder for 4 different sports that play in the Stan Sheriff Center and there have been many, many nights where they had over 8,000 in attendance. Just last year the men’s basketball team had a sellout (10,300) on senior night and had many games that had over 8,000. Also the Wahine Volleyball team has had many, many nights in the past 10 years where they’ve had over 8,000 in attendance…it’s easy to look up. It’s on UH’s website….

  • Why is it I don’t trust the Stadium Authority? If a smaller stadium is planned, then it should be built on lower UH campus. Let UH manage its own stadium, just as they do with the Stan Sheriff, Les Murakami and the other sports venues.

    • Agree, agree, agree. Build it on campus and build your fan base from the students. Make the games and event and entertaining to the students. They are your future donors. The present stadium flourished in the beginning because the fan base was already there (older working people and alumni). However, they forgot that those people age and die off. UH never bothered to keep recruiting new fans. Believe me, it’s not about winning. It comes down to school pride. There are many schools whose teams are average, yet draw a steady fan base. The key is the stadium is on campus.

  • Small minded thinking!!! Build a 75,000 multipurpose stadium …and do it right! Get the rich guys in Hawaii to pay for it— like: Pierre Omidyar, Jay Shidler, Blair Party-Okeden, Steve Case, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckenberg, and Larry Ellison. The coil form a hui to pay for it in cash in exchange for the multipurpose stadium taking on their corporate name on a rotating basis yearly!

    • Sorry HawaiiBlogger: Your ideas are much too creative. Of course it should be a large stadium, unless they’re anticipating the population to dramatically shrink as people leave for the mainland to avoid the tax increases from the Rail project.

      I hope they do not repeat the same format that brought us the rail project. The State doesn’t have the personnel to develop a Stadium. Let one of the individuals you’ve listed or one of Trump’s colleagues develop and manage such a project. You need a real business person with experience. And please, if we start to see posts from ukublu talking about our children’s future, I’m giving up!

  • Bad idea… Build the stadium out near West Hawaii campus… MORE PARKING. Use the university and the stadium for parking. Sell Aloha Stadium for scrap and the land for development. Plenty money for a new stadium where there is MORE PARKING.

  • 30,000-35,000 seat stadium? One step forward – 5 steps backward but then again, that seems like how our gov’t operates. It must be that the population is getting smaller and smaller. Being that Aloha Stadium was built for UH to play their games, even Gov Burns back in the early 70s knew that a 50,000 seat stadium was the right size at the time (70s)to get UH up to speed and attract the needed attention of college conferences. So we got a Governor who admittedly said that he doesn’t attend UH football games……..Small time thinking equates to small time support. Go Blows!!!

  • The existing stadium site needs to be demolished and in its place affordable housing for our residents. Truly affordable not kakaako style , but truly affordable for our younger generation The entire acreage would be devoted for this. The rail can stop there as a means for the residents to commute to town for work. The stadium of the size recommended should go on lower campus. In place of the soccer practice fields Ample parking on upper campus on game days. Otherwise it should go on part of the ala wait golf course. Or in kakaako.

  • We’ll see the first $2 billion, 30,000 seat stadium.
    On the other hand the State finally got the hint that the NFL has permanently pulled the Pro Bowl from Hawaii.

    • If the State and University are not going to commit to building a first class program, just continue to use a refurbished Aloha Stadium. There is no excuse for not having a top 20 team. I’m curious, does the State Legislature ever address the topic of UH Athletics? A two party political system is long overdue.

  • What ever happened to the plan to build a replacement stadium in Kapolei? This was a hot topic in the 1990s. Did our newly elected government workers forget what our last leaders planned? Stupid. Go back and learn from Frank Fasi.

  • If they’re going to build smaller, would it possibly save some money to maybe tear down one section at a time like, say, the entire mauka sideline, rebuild, then the makai sideline, rebuild, then maybe both end zones at the same time or again, one at a time? That way, we can keep the playing surface where it is and not touch the parking…save at least those parts. Demolition can take place during the off-season, and I’m sure the contractor can put up a strong temporary barrier while the new section is being built. I forget what stadium it was on the mainland, but they did this without disruption of games. We don’t fill it up anyway, so a loss of 18,000 seats alternately wouldn’t be a problem. As each new section is completed, open it for use, then tear down the next section.

  • The politicians will give half the land at the Aloha stadium site for condos or hotels and build a smaller stadium with less parking on the remaining land for 2-300 million in taxpayer money.
    Ige and his corrupt democratic cohorts will sell it as a savings to taxpayers but it’ll really be a giveaway to his developer, union and contractor campaign contributors.
    That’s how single party rule works – to the winners and their contributors go the spoils.

  • “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.”

    This statement of the Stadium Authority just reeks of the same HART shibai…

  • Here we go again with the plantation mentality. For heaven’s sake this is the 21st century but to Dems, it doesn’t matter as long as their lives are enriched. For once make a world class stadium and not one that resembles a 3rd world once. It’s shameful to see the faded and rusty seats especially when there is a national audience. Have adequate parking too unless a better shuttle plan can be implemented. What ever happened to leaders who had vision, intelligence, character and the willingness to do what they mean and say? Auwe!

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