It’s called forward momentum: Another few yards here and there take one tantalizingly closer to the goal line. And when it comes to the fate of Aloha Stadium, or its replacement, some important ground was gained this week.
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It’s called forward momentum: Another few yards here and there take one tantalizingly closer to the goal line. And when it comes to the fate of Aloha Stadium, or its replacement, some important ground was gained this week: an alternative site analysis confirms that the current 98-acre location is where a new stadium and ancillary development should be built.
The Halawa site outscored the University of Hawaii’s Manoa and West Oahu campuses, Ala Wai Golf Course, Kapiolani Regional Park and Kalaeloa Airport, after the sites are rated in five categories, including current infrastructure, potential development costs and economic impact.
This week’s analysis should go a long way to move discussions past location, and to shift the focus on how best to redevelop the Halawa acreage. It should spur legislators to advance a bill to appropriate $350 million in general funds and bonds to construct a replacement for the 44-year-old deteriorating Aloha Stadium; that includes $150 million in revenue bonds to be repaid by proceeds from a planned public-private partnership leveraging transit-oriented development. Meanwhile, an environmental impact statement needs to proceed apace; it is estimated to take 12-18 months.
All of this potential is exciting, but also daunting. The current stadium’s operations will still need to be factored in until phased out — and remember, beware developers peddling rusting patina as a positive structural feature.