Hawai’i NASED project focus thriving community


Aloha Stadium update October 2023 Image: New Aloha Stadium

In September this year, the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) team members presented to an engaged audience at the PBX23, a trade show for Hawaii’s (US) building and design industries.

‘New Aloha Stadium Newsletter’ stated that the NASED team discussed the New Aloha Stadium District and the mission to grow a thriving transit-oriented development community catalyzed by a new sports and entertainment facility.

The New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) is a public-private partnership initiative for the development of a new Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The project will include the construction of commercial, residential and retail buildings around the stadium. The new stadium is expected to be ready for the 2026 football season. The full build-out of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District is expected to take 10 to 15 years. The New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District will be located on the 98-acre site of the current stadium in the Western part of Honolulu. The stadium is the largest in the State of Hawaii, US.

The current Aloha Stadium has a capacity of 50,000 seats. The new stadium will have a capacity of 25,000 to 30,000 seats. The new stadium will be used for a variety of sports and entertainment events, including football, soccer and rugby. The new stadium will be built in Halawa, Hawaii for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football program. The demolition of the old stadium is expected to begin in early 2024.

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team represents the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football. It was part of the Western Athletic Conference until July 2012, when the team joined the Mountain West Conference.

Indianapolis (US)-based the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student-athletics among about 1,100 schools in the United States, and Canada. It also organizes the athletic programs of colleges and helps over 500,000 college student athletes who compete annually in college sports.

The NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as the Division I-A, is the highest level of college football in the United States. The FBS consists of the largest schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. As of the 2023 season, there are 10 Conferences and 133 schools in FBS.

‘New Aloha Stadium Newsletter’ further stated that during the month of October, work continued on the development of the procurement documents for NASED, along with engaging key stakeholders to ensure the project’s success within the committed timeframes. On this point, they are on schedule to commence the procurement process for NASED in December this year, which supports forecasted completion of the new stadium in time for the 2028 University of Hawai‘i Football season.

Project Cost

The State is currently preparing an updated financial analysis for the NASED project, which will include an adjusted conceptual design for the new Aloha Stadium. It is expected that the construction costs for the new stadium to be no more than $400 million in today’s (2023) dollars for the base scope, not including any developer enhancements. This includes the cost to demolish the existing stadium.

The updated financial analysis contemplates that the developer will provide additional funds so that the stadium may incorporate some enhanced features that would otherwise be unattainable from the State’s resources alone. The developer will also be required to fund the development of improvements in the district surrounding the stadium and the necessary supporting infrastructure, as the State will not be responsible for funding these elements.

The State (Hawaii) is not interested only in the construction cost of the new stadium, but rather the State will assess the developer’s value proposition for the entirety of the NASED district based on: The utilization of the State’s financial contribution to the stadium project, the size of the site the developer requests to develop (both as part of the initial development and as part of the total development) and the quality and scope of the new Aloha Stadium (i.e., the extent of enhancements over and above those otherwise afforded by the State’s contribution alone).

‘Misleading’ Reports

Reports of the new Aloha Stadium costing “over a billion dollars” are misleading and simply wrong. While one is not certain of the source of any such reporting, the calculations may come from one of two areas:

  • Including financing, maintenance and lifecycle replacement costs: While financing, maintenance and lifecycle replacement costs are very real costs to be considered when evaluating a project, these are not typically included in the “project costs” of a State-funded project, and those costs are not properly considered State costs as part of the NASED transaction. Such costs will be the responsibility of the developer. The developer will earn and retain the revenues generated from the operation of the new stadium and from the development and leasing of the surrounding area, and the developer will use such amounts to partially fund the financing, maintenance, and lifecycle replacement costs of the stadium. If the revenues generated from such operations and development is insufficient to pay such costs, the developer, not the State, will be responsible for making up any difference; and
  • Including district development costs: Previous projections have indicated that there may be over $2 billion of design and construction costs for NASED, but the majority of these costs are for revenue-generating development (e.g., the cost of a hotel or residential towers) related to the district surrounding the stadium, the funding of which will be the developer’s (not the State’s) responsibility. This “more than $2 billion” estimate is an investment in NASED by the developer which is expected to generate significant economic activity in the area, which is rewarding for the local companies and the people they employ.

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