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Officials want $64M to fix Hawaiʻi Convention Center deck

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HONOLULU — The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority plans to seek $64 million from the state's capital improvements budget to fix a leaky rooftop deck at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center.

That's more than double what the agency had last anticipated it would cost to complete the largest deferred maintenance project at the building, which opened in 1998, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

It’s a substantial reinvestment in a center that cost $200 million to construct.

Julian Anderson, who presented recommendations to the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority board on Thursday on behalf of Honolulu-based property manager Rider Levett Bucknall, said the deck was still structurally safe.

However, he said, components of contractor Nordic/PCL’s design were guaranteed for only 15 to 20 years, so it’s well past time to address the leaky rooftop.

“This is an issue that has existed since the building was designed. Repair is not an option; replacement is required,” he said. “If work is not done, the amount of damage will continue to increase, and more rentable space will be taken out of inventory.”

Officials at the center requested about $27 million from the Legislature in 2017 to fix the rooftop deck. However, legislators did not approve the improvements.

Repair costs for the project now start at $54 million, which would include fixing two stairways and repairing the deck by adding pedestrian pavers and possibly a concrete overlay to increase loading capacity and resist future cracking.

But the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s latest capital improvement request is for $64 million, which also includes installing shades to cover 50% of the rooftop terrace. Hawaiʻi Convention Center General Manager Teri Orton recommended investing in shades, which would cool the space, eliminate the need for tents and provide more options for clients in inclement weather.

The center, on the edge of Waikiki, is the state's largest meeting facility. It has ballrooms, meeting rooms and a rooftop garden. Normally it hosts large gatherings of trade organizations and associations. During the coronavirus pandemic, it has housed contact tracers and state workers processing unemployment claims.

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