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Imagining a New Blaisdell Center

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The city and county of Honolulu is moving forward with its redevelopment of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center as a public-private partnership.

This week, Honolulu officials recirculated the draft master plan for redeveloping the Blaisdell Center, prompting us to check in on its progress. The plan calls for significantly refurbishing the concert hall and arena, replacing the parking structure and exhibit hall, and adding both additional performance venues and more open space to the 22-acre property.

Guy Kaulukukui, director of the city Department of Enterprise Services, tells PBN he hopes to hire a consultant no later than July 1 to put together a request for proposals that can be out by this fall.

Developers interested in the project would then have six to seven months to submit their bids for a public-private partnership by next April. If all goes according to plan, construction could begin as early as the second half of 2020.

The city currently estimates it will cost $692 million to redevelop the area, a figure that’s likely to change as the schematic plans are drawn up, then change again as designs are finalized.

Until bids are in hand from developers, however, it’s impossible to say how much of that cost could be absorbed by private investment. Kaulukukui says it could as much as 50 percent.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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