Saturday, June 22, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, June 28, 2020
Future of the Aloha Stadium
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3783 Views :: Development, Higher Education, Tourism

Future of the Aloha Stadium

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

While everyone’s attention is focused on COVID-19 and racially charged police brutality, we should also pay some attention to major happenings here at home.

One of them is the venerable Aloha Stadium, former home to the Aloha Bowl and now affectionately called the Rust Bucket. The stadium was built using a then-new product called “Weathering Steel,” which was supposed to develop a thin coat of rust on the outside of the steel that would prevent the steel from rusting any further. The makers of this product didn’t factor in Hawaii’s salt-laden moisture, however, and the stadium developed way more than a thin coat of rust. Then there were bleachers that were supposed to move and convert its football shape into a baseball configuration but wound up being non-movable. Hawaii residents did get some use out of the stadium but its condition has deteriorated further and now needs significant maintenance.

To deal with this problem, our government came up with the idea of NASED, an acronym for New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District. It even has its own nifty website. The idea was that a design firm would be hired to come up with some plans, and then a Public-Private-Partnership would be formed by late 2020 between the State and a selected private developer to do the build-out.

The design firm, in late 2019, produced three draft concept plans that would be put out for discussion and debated:

Plans for restaurants, retail, entertainment, hotels, and residences are presented in the three renderings.

The plan is for the State to put up $350 million, with $20 million coming from the general fund and the rest being borrowed through a bond issue. That sounds like a good deal, with 25 years of maintenance costs projected to be $423 million. But there are still some tough questions to be answered.

The land on which the stadium sits is 98 acres owned by the State. Access to the area is very easy, with Kamehameha Highway, the H-1 Freeway, the Moanalua Freeway (H-201), and a new Stadium rail station serving the area. Do we really want the entire site developed as an entertainment district? We have a major recession that is expected to continue for a while and continued high unemployment. What about housing, especially affordable housing, that was previously identified as a high priority for our State?

Can we afford to take the risk of building a new stadium with an entertainment center that may become a financial white elephant like our convention center? The financial plan assumes that the State’s share is going to be $350 million, but the actual number might be nowhere near that if, for example, the selected developer uses COVID-19 as an excuse to jack up the price tag. In any case, shouldn’t the financial drain that this project will cause be justification enough to push the pause button, as Honolulu Mayor Caldwell did on the proposed $772 million Blaisdell Center renovation project? Will this project become Convention Center 2.0 or Rail 2.0? Let’s make sure we are getting something we really need at a price we can afford to pay.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii