NASED update: Stadium Authority board meeting June 2024

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JUNE 28, 2024

AIEA — The journey towards the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District continues forward.

The timeline still remains for a 2028 opening of the new Aloha Stadium after the Stadium Authority concluded their June board meeting at the Aloha Stadium conference room Thursday morning.

A hot topic in the meeting was regarding the withdrawal of Waiola Development Partners (WDP), one of two developmental teams that were listed as priority-listed offerers in March, from the Request for Proposal (RFP) phase last week resulted in some concern among the general public, but board members assured that the lone remaining team does not gain any leverage.

Aloha Halawa District Partners (AHDP), is the likely winner of the master developer contract that allows them to build, operate and maintain a new 25,000-seat stadium and develop the rest of the 98 acres around the area in Halawa, providing that AHDP’s proposal meets all the state’s requirements of the new stadium.

The deadline to submit the proposal during the RFP phase is July 31 with the selection of a lone preferred offeror to be completed in the fall or near the end of September. Stadium Manager Ryan Andrews affirmed that the process was meant to whittle the selection down to one developmental team.

“From the very beginning, this RFP was designed for the situation of having only one offeror,” said Andrews.

Board member John Fink added that even if there were seven proposals at the end of next month, the state would only move forward with one team at that stage of the procurement process.

“Anybody who thinks those people would be waiting to see if that came through, they would disband and disappear so it’s not like there would be a fallback once we had someone chosen,” said Fink.

“This is not like Miss America where you have a first runner-up that stands by waiting.”

Stadium Authority board Chair Brennon Morioka said that although disappointed by WDP’s exit, it does provide some advantages with the state dealing with only one group sooner.

“We do look at this as an opportunity to move the project quicker and in deeper conversation with Aloha Halawa District Partners so we can get into much more meaningful conversation with them on the entirety of their proposal not just the concepts, but their financial aspects as well and how we’re comfortable,” Morioka said.

Morioka also clarified that the state is only contributing $350 million dollars to the NASED project out of the $400 million appropriated by the state legislature because a portion of that money will go towards other costs such as contingency costs, construction management and consulting fees.

It also means that AHDP, or whoever wins the rights to develop the stadium and its surrounding area, will have to fund the rest of the project with their own private equity.

“All of the requirements that we put into the RFP is going to cost more than $350 that we providing so the winning team will still have to provide their own money not just for the stadium, but for all the infrastructure on the site itself, so there’s still a tremendous amount of skin in the game,” said Morioka.

“We’re very confident that this procurement process really helps protect the state and our interest while shifting a lot of the risk — there is still some shared risk — but it shifts a lot of the risks on to the developer. We’re confident and optimistic that we’re still going to be getting a tremendous proposal in July and we’re looking forward to working much closer with AHDP over the next few weeks.”

State senator Glenn Wakai, an avid proponent of the building the new stadium, does not view the idea of having just one offeror as a bad thing.

“We were excited when we had the initial group of folks that went in and we were happy with the two finalists. Both of them were juggernauts. It’s not like we had one junk one amongst the offerors, so I think we should be even more excited that now we can press forward with (AHDP). I think it’s going to be good. The public is going to get good value for this. I think it’s actually a very good evolution that we are seeing now,” Wakai said.

If AHDP is able to submit a compliant proposal and is selected as the master developer in the coming months, the state and AHDP will enter into a nine-month negotiation period that will conclude in summer of 2025. However, if those stipulations are not met, the procurement process would reset and the whole process would have to start from the very beginning.

The state started the initial process of selecting a new developer in March of 2020 before the old stadium was condemned. Back then, the initial plan was to open the new stadium in 2023. The timeline has shifted since then until the 2028 opening date, which has been the target since May 2023.

“It’s imperative for us and AHDP to work closely together to ensure that they submit a proposal that is in the best interest of both parties, both AHDP and for the state,” Morioka said.