Oahu’s New Aloha Stadium

Long-time home of the National Football League’s Pro Bowl, host of famous artists like Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson, and venue for the popular Swap Meet, the Aloha Stadium has been a central feature of Oahu for over forty years. When it was first built, it was a state-of-the-art facility with four moveable sections, allowing the 50,000-seat stadium to be configured to a football, soccer, or baseball field.

But now, the Aloha Stadium is showing signs of aging, salt-water weathering, code non-compliance, and lack of amenities. The State of Hawaii Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) published reports showing the current stadium needs $300 million in health and safety repairs and another $121 million for the stadium to be compliant with ADA laws.

New Oahu Stadium

Instead of putting millions of dollars into repairing the old Oahu stadium, in 2019, the state legislature appropriated $350 million for building a new stadium. The state also plans to partner with a private developer to form a public-private partnership.

This will be more than a stadium – but the project is called the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) and has plans for a live, work, and play community for both Hawaii residents and visitors to the island. The current 98-acre Aloha Stadium site in Halawa, near the community of Aiea, will be transformed to include the following and more:

  • a 35,000-seat Aloha Stadium
  • 98 acres
  • a hotel
  • mixed-use retail
  • a rail station
  • a pedestrian promenade
  • an entertainment district
  • swap meet area
  • a residential area
  • parking

The Aloha Stadium Timeline

  1. Summer 2020 – Master planning process completed.
  2. Summer 2020 – Request for Proposals (RFP) accepted to secure a pool of developer-led teams, from which a developer will be selected to build the stadium.
  3. Summer 2021 – Construction begins.
  4. Fall 2023 – The New Aloha Stadium opens in time for football season. There are over 900,000 square feet expected to be constructed in this first phase of development, which will include the stadium itself as well as some mixed-use development and infrastructure to connect to Honolulu Rail.
  5. 2033-2038 – The full build-out of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District is expected to have several phases, which will be completed over the next 10 to 15 years after the new Aloha Stadium Opens.

What is the current status of construction on Aloha Stadium?

Announced on July 1, 2020, the state is expected to choose the top three developers from their RFP process for the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District by the middle of July. Six developer groups responded to the request for qualifications (RFQ) by the end of May, and the evaluation committee will choose three more finalists during this request for proposal (RFP) phase.

The evaluation committee is made up of five non-paid members who, “represent a diverse cross-section of areas pertinent to this procurement,” said Chris Kinimaka, Administrator for the Hawaii Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS).

Drafts of the selected Master Plan as well as the environmental impact statement, which cost the state $5,000,000, are expected for release in July 2020. Soon we will be able to envision what the future Aloha Stadium will look like! These documents are being completed by Crawford Architects, who has also worked on the Minnesota Vikings stadium and a number of university stadiums, such as South Dakota State University and Penn State University.

Once the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is released, the public will have a “period for comment and review prior to the Final EIS being accepted and approved,” according to the NASED website, which also says a cultural survey is being conducted at the construction site to assess impact to iwi kupuna.

Who is going to pay for the new Aloha Stadium?

The New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District is being touted as a Public-Private Partnership (P3), meaning the selected developer will blend public state funds with the resources of the private development businesses to flexibly leverage the best of both the public and private sectors. 

In July 2019, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed Act 268, which appropriated $350 million for an Aloha Stadium redevelopment project. $20 million were general funds. $180 million were revenue bonds, and $150 million were general obligation bonds to construct the new stadium. Revenue bonds are secured by a specific revenue source, and the interest and principal are expected to be repaid, meaning the NASED is expected to generate income upon completion, and the millions that the state has allocated will need to be paid back with that income.

  • $150 million of state of Hawaii direct investment into the stadium project
  • $1,000 million expected economic impact

The New Aloha Stadium Building Options

Officials from the NASED have been attending pubic and community meetings over the past months, sharing conceptual drawings of what the new Oahu stadium might look like. These different options show how different locations for the new Aloha Stadium can provoke different development around it. The developers and design teams will explore these options and others before finalizing an ideal design for the new Aloha Stadium.

In all options, it is expected that stadium games, events, and swap meets will continue without interruption.

Option A

This plan tears down the current stadium and reconstructs a new stadium on top of the current site. According to the environmental impact statement preparation notice, the old stadium would be incrementally demolished and replaced, allowing for use of the stadium throughout construction.

Source: Crawford Architects

Option B

The new Aloha Stadium would be west of the current facility. In this scenario, the existing stadium would remain completely operational while the new stadium is being built. The demolition site of the old Aloha Stadium would be repurposed as an outdoor performance venue and community recreation space.

Source: Crawford Architects

Option C

The new Oahu Stadium would be to the south of the current facility. Like Option B, the old stadium would remain completely operation while the new Oahu Stadium is being built. The old stadium site would be reconstructed into a new central recreation space with a grid street pattern.

Source: Crawford Architects

All of the proposed stadium options will offer an array of entertainment - football, soccer, rugby, concerts, community functions, family-oriented events – as well as luxurious seating, extensive concessions, and improved facilities. Whichever option is chosen, residents and visitors can look forward to a new Aloha Stadium in fall 2023.