Agency seeks $10M to avoid halt to Aloha Stadium work

HONOLULU — A Hawaii development organization will seek $10 million in funding to hire a private company and do other work necessary for the redevelopment of Aloha Stadium, a move that sidesteps what could have been a costly halt to the project.

Following a request from the state Department of Accounting and General Serv­ices, the board of the Hawaii Community Development Authority agreed last week to authorize its executive director to request $10 million for continued work from Democratic Gov. David Ige, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

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Lawmakers in 2019 selected the development authority to lead the project because of the its experience in master planning and soliciting private development proposals.

The state accounting department has already spent close to $10 million on private consultants for conceptual design, engineering, environmental, legal and other work while also contributing its own staff work under the agency’s budget.

The agency estimated the additional $10 million is needed for remaining work, including completion of an environmental study, issuing a request for proposals and handing off the project to a private developer.

Project managers need to finish soliciting bids from three recently selected, preferred private development partners and negotiate a contract for the winning bidder to finance, build and maintain the facility.

The approved bid will include the rights to redevelop surrounding state land, possibly with housing, retail and other uses.

Accounting and general services department Public Works Administrator Chris Kinimak said the agency anticipates signing a contract with a winning bidder by March 2022.

The additional funding is crucial to continuing the project, Kinimak said.

“Our work on the procurement phase would come to a very slow halt eventually as our funding runs out,” Kinimaka said during a meeting with the development authority board last week. “We’re very close to using that entire (initial) $10 million.”

The board’s approval carries a condition that the accounting department ensure in a written agreement that the authority is not burdened with oversight and fiduciary responsibility for the project’s bills.

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Kinimaka said the department agreed to the terms.

“We regret that we have to do this and have this interim type of agreement, because had our bill gone through in July, we wouldn’t be here today and we would have a much cleaner role for all of us at this point,” Kinimaka said.

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