New Aloha Stadium still on track for 2028 despite developmental group’s withdrawal from RFP process

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JUNE 21, 2024

HONOLULU — One of two developmental teams that were listed as “priority-listed offerers” for the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) project withdrew its name from the bidders of two finalists Friday afternoon.

Waiola Development Partners (WDP) — a consortium that includes EllisDon Capital, Inc., BSC Acquistions II, LLC, and Kobayashi Group LLC as lead equity members — has withdrawn from the Request for Proposals (RFP) process, the State of Hawai’i Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) and the Aloha Stadium Authority announced in a press release.

The press release states that this does not affect the ongoing RFP process and the new Aloha Stadium continues to be on track to open for the 2028 University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors’ football season against Kansas.

“The RFP was designed to accommodate the possibility of having one offeror, and this withdrawal will not affect the ongoing RFP process,” said Brennon Morioka, Stadium Authority chair. “We are on track to meet all of the RFP milestones, and we look forward to welcoming UH football and the community back to Aloha Stadium in 2028.”

This clears the way for Aloha Halawa District Partners (ADHP), the other team that was listed as a finalist, to be the one to potentially become the master developer of the 98-acre NASED project in Halawa.

“The procurement process continues as planned, albeit with one priority-listed offeror, Aloha Halawa District Partners (ADHP),” said Keith Regan, comptroller, DAGS. 

Regan also said that ADHP will still be required to submit a proposal — a detailed plan on how everything will be done — in accordance with the RFP that will be required to meet prescribed standards and requirements and demonstrate value to the state. If it does, then ADHP will be named as the “preferred offerer” and invited to participate in the Diligence and Discussion Phase, where ADHP will be required to demonstrate that its proposal delivers value to the state and meet the project’s goals.

“We are confident that the final selection and agreement will ensure that the NASED project will be developed in the best interests of the state, the community, and Hawai’i taxpayers,” said Regan. “The NASED team looks forward to working with ADHP to deliver a successful project.”

ADHP includes Development Ventures Group, Inc., Stanford Carr Development, LLC, Ameresco, Inc., and Aloha Stadium Community Development, LLC (The Cordish Company) as lead equity members.

Other companies that are a part of ADHP that will help design, construct, operate and maintain the new 25,000-seat stadium with 4,500 units of housing and other amenities include RMA Architects, Populous, SB Architects, Henning Larsen, Alakea Design Group, and WCIT Architects as the design team; Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc. and AECOM Hunt as the construction team; and Castle & Cooke Hawaii and Wilson Okamoto Corp as other team members.

The press release also said that the NASED team will continue to move forward with the proposals phase and its deadline this summer, with final execution of an agreement targeted for summer 2025.

University of Hawai’i athletic director Craig Angelos was optimistic about the process for the new Aloha Stadium when he joined “Wake Up in the Den” in the Hawai’i Sports Radio Network studios Wednesday and affirmed that T.C. Ching Field on the school’s lower campus is just a temporary home for the Rainbow Warriors.

“That whole stadium is a temporary stadium. It’s designed to be temporary,” said Angelos. “If it was every something that we had to stay in for our whole career, we’d probably have to take it down and rebuild it back up because it is temporary.” 

Angelos added that moving the Hawai’i football team back to Halawa will allow for more facilities for the program.

“I’m hoping that it will because that will also free up land on our camps to do a (student-athlete) performance center and to have football practice fields and things like that that we can use 365 days a year,” he said.

The Hawai’i athletic director noted there isn’t much space on lower campus and that the football team currently has to share their lone field with intramural and marching band practice, which is “unheard of at the FBS level.”

The state legislature already committed $400 million to the NASED project budget in 2022, but the eventual master developer must front the rest of the cost in exchange for exclusive rights.

There was also a bill that was moving in the State House this past legislation to make the stadium on the university campus’ permanent with using previous funds set aside for NASED to go towards higher-than-expected Maui wildfire recovery costs, but it died in the State Senate shortly after it crossed over on March 7.