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A New Stadium…and Much More

While all eyes are currently on the University of Hawaii’s ongoing retrofit of the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex to accommodate Rainbow Warrior football games for the 2021 season, work is still moving forward with the planned development of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED).

NASED has released preliminary conceptual renderings of the project (via Crawford architects. The final designs will be determined by the selected development teams.

NASED also provided an extensive “Frequently Asked Questions” document, of which we included some of the key highlights below.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, click HERE.



Q: What is the vision for the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District?
The New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) will be a mixed-use, vibrant live-work-play-thrive community and destination, with a new multi-purpose stadium serving as the centerpiece. It will celebrate Hawaii’s unique culture and inspire Aloha for the community and visitors alike.

Q: Why is NASED needed?
In 2019, the Hawaii State Legislature found that: “The existing Aloha Stadium and lands under the jurisdiction of the stadium authority and department of accounting and general services are underutilized. The stadium facility has been in dire need of significant repair and maintenance for many years. The stadium authority has considered repairing, upgrading, and replacing the existing facility to optimize the public’s enjoyment and ensure public safety. Redeveloping, renovating, or improving these public lands in a manner that will provide suitable recreational, residential, educational, and commercial areas, where the public can live, congregate, recreate, attend schools, and shop, as part of a thoughtfully integrated experience, is in the best interests of the State and its people.”

Q: Who is responsible for managing the NASED project?
NASED will be managed by the Stadium Authority, with assistance from the Department of Accounting and General Services and the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority.

Q: How will NASED be delivered?
NASED will be delivered via two primary projects: the Stadium Project and the Real Estate Project.

Q: What’s the financing plan for NASED?
The state is contributing $170 million towards NASED. This state funding will be used primarily to offset a portion of the costs of designing and constructing the Stadium Project. The remaining costs to design and construct the Stadium Project will be financed by the Stadium Project developer. The Stadium Project developer will also maintain the facility it builds for a period of 30 to 35 years. In return for the costs the developer incurs for financing the design and construction of the Stadium Project, as well as maintaining it, it will be paid “availability payments” by the state for the same 30-to-35-year period.

The state, via the Stadium Authority, will continue to be responsible for operating the new Aloha Stadium. Income derived from these operations will be used to help pay for the availability payments. However, this net operating income will only partially cover the availability payments.

At present, the state has not appropriated any direct financial contribution to the Real Estate Project. Given this, the expectation is that the Real Estate Project developer will provide and fund all district infrastructure (roads, utilities, public spaces, etc.) as well as deliver the actual developments (which are expected to include residential, retail, hotels and office space). Should future state funding be made available for direct financial contributions, they would help offset the costs to the Real Estate Project developer for provision of the necessary infrastructure, thereby increasing the potential amount of ground lease payments back to the Stadium Authority.

The Real Estate Project is projected to provide annual returns to the Stadium Authority in the form of ground lease payments. The Real Estate Project ground lease payments, together with the income derived from Stadium Project operations, will be used to help pay for the availability payments.

Q: Can the state appropriate more capital funds in the future?
Yes. Should the state appropriate additional capital funds in the future, it would likely be used as contributions to the Real Estate Project’s district infrastructure. This should provide long-term returns in the form of higher ground lease payments back to the Stadium Authority, which will help to further offset the Stadium Project availability payments.

Q: What is the expected cost of the Stadium Project?
We are currently projecting a construction cost of approximately $420 million in today’s dollars, which reflects cost escalation from initial projections in 2017 and 2019, along with more detailed capital cost estimates for each element of the Stadium Project.

The main focus for the state is not directly on the construction cost of the stadium, but the overall availability payment for the Stadium Project (which is made up of paying back the financed design and construction costs, as well as the cost to maintain the facility). However, the construction cost is an important driver in this calculation.

Q: What is the schedule for the Stadium Project?
We expect to issue the Request for Proposal (RFP) to the shortlisted bidders for the Stadium Project this Summer and enter into a contract with the successful bidder in the second quarter of 2022 (calendar year). Construction would commence on the site later in 2022.

During the RFP stage for the Stadium Project, we will test the construction timeframe with our shortlisted bidders and confirm the targeted new Aloha Stadium opening with the selected developer.

Q: What is the schedule for the Real Estate Project?
We expect to publish the RFP in July/August 2021 and enter into a contract with the successful bidder in the second quarter of 2022 (calendar year). The Real Estate Project will be built out over a span of years, with the current projections being approximately 20 years for all real estate development. However, we do expect that an initial portion of development will be complete and operational at the same time the new Aloha Stadium opens.

Q: What is the Stadium Project?
The Stadium Project will be delivered under a public-private-partnership (P3) model and will include the design, construction, financing and maintenance of a new stadium (minimum 30,000 seats) and a prescribed minimum surrounding area with supporting infrastructure (e.g., roadways, parking, public spaces and requisite changes to utilities) for the new Aloha Stadium. The Stadium Project also includes the demolition of the existing Aloha Stadium.

Q: What will be the capacity of the new Aloha Stadium?
A minimum of 30,000 seats.

Q: Why will the new Aloha Stadium have less seats than the current one?
The minimum capacity of 30,000 seats was derived after further diligence and research by the state in 2020. The research indicated that a minimum of 30,000 seats was an optimal capacity, based on historical and projected events and attendances, in conjunction with the availability payment cost projections. This reduction in capacity, coupled with increases in amenities, was also supported by our many industry stakeholders.

Q: When will construction commence?
We expect major construction activity to commence in the second half of 2022.
How will construction impacts be managed (e.g., traffic, noise, dust, vibration)?
Each contractor and developer working on the site will be required to develop and comply with construction, traffic and environmental management plans that appropriately deal with these matters in accordance with state and county regulations.

Q: When will the existing stadium be demolished?
The timing of the demolition of the existing Aloha Stadium will be a decision for the Stadium Project developer However, we expect this to commence in the second half of 2022 or early 2023.

Q: What will happen with other events (e.g., high school football, graduations, etc.)?
Events, such as high school football, will continue at local schools’ sites until the new stadium is completed. Similarly, graduation events will occur either at the schools’ facilities, or another location of the schools’ choosing. Once the new Aloha Stadium is completed, these events can return.

Q: How many parking stalls will be available for Aloha Stadium events?
We are striving for a balanced approach for stadium events, including a mix of vehicles, buses and rail transportation. We are in the process of confirming the expected rail ridership to and from Aloha Stadium events, and once this is confirmed, we will work with stakeholders to establish a reasonable number of required parking stalls for Aloha Stadium events.

Q: How will tailgating be accommodated for UH games?
NASED will offer a new approach to pre-game (and post-game) activities, through vibrant, easy-to-access food, beverage and entertainment offerings. While some people will always want to tailgate, we are developing new ways for the public to find far more attractive and accessible gathering experiences.


The highlighted portion of the above rendering is the new Aloha Stadium section of the NASED.

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