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State changes Aloha Stadium contract plan, expects opening in 2028

This rendering shows an afternoon football game at the new Aloha Stadium seen from the upper bowl of the Makai side of the stadium.
NASED Stadium Project
FILE - This rendering shows an afternoon football game at the new Aloha Stadium seen from the upper bowl of the Makai side of the stadium.

Plans for a new Aloha Stadium have changed once again. The earliest you might see the University of Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warriors play there is 2028.

The project — formally called the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District — was previously broken up into two contracts. One focused on building the stadium, and another focused on the surrounding real estate.

Now, the project will fall under one integrated public-private partnership, or P3, project. The new contract encompasses the design, build-out, operation and maintenance of the stadium. A single developer will lead the 25,000-seat stadium project using state and private funds.

"This is the start of a little bit more open and transparent conversation that we will be having with the community at large," said Aloha Stadium Board Chair Brennon Morioka.

In making Thursday’s announcement for new plans, the state terminated the remaining two active procurement contracts. The development teams that were shortlisted have been invited to participate in the new plan.

"We are looking to go forward with a single procurement document that is inclusive of both construction of the stadium as well as development of the surrounding areas," Morioka said.

The authority will develop a new request for proposals plan over the next four to six months.

"That contractor will number one demolish the existing stadium, and then proceed with designing and building the new stadium, and then enter into a 20 or 30-year relationship with us to operate and maintain that stadium," Morioka said.

The chosen developer will also be able to build some mixed-use development near the stadium and use that revenue to offset construction, operation and maintenance costs for the stadium.

In a statement, Gov. Josh Green said, “This approach will not only provide us with a much-needed new stadium but also ensure long-term funding and cost overruns are managed by the private sector, reducing the burden on our local taxpayers. "

State Sen. Glenn Wakai represents the Aloha Stadium area and has been part of the discussion for the past 13 years.

"I think what's different about this versus any other government project, rail and otherwise, is that it's a public-private partnership. So what the public can expect from that partnership and the benefits are that we're going to get private sector investment, we're going to get private sector technical expertise, and we're going to get private sector deadlines and benchmarks — something that is so foreign to the state of Hawaiʻi," Wakai told HPR. 

This new plan will tap into about $400 million in current state funding. But the long-term funding will be shifted to a private sector developer. Officials said previous work will be repurposed for the new plans.

The Stadium Authority will host a webinar for prospective bidders next month. The state hopes for a Request for Qualifications in fall 2023, a developer signed in 2025, and a new stadium ready for the 2028 football season.

For more information, click here.

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