‘Monumental error’ scuppers new Aloha Stadium project

The project to redevelop Aloha Stadium in Hawaii is facing substantial delays after what has been described as a “monumental error” in drawing up a bill crucial to its progress.

The 50,000-capacity stadium, which opened in 1975 as the new home of the University of Hawaii’s Rainbow Warriors American football team, is due to be replaced by a new venue which had been targeted to open in September 2023.

However, the Honolulu Star Advertiser said an error in the wording of Senate Bill 2940, which was due to have transferred oversight of the project to the Aloha Stadium Authority from the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA), is likely to delay it by at least a year and further drive up costs.

Hawaii Senator Kai Kahele is said to have opposed the approval of the bill, which intended to allow the state to grant 99-year leases on the 98-acre site in which the current stadium is located, as it would have inadvertently opened up other areas under HCDA control to expanded leases.

Curt Otaguro, state Comptroller and head of the Department of Accounting and General Services, said: “I apologise for this monumental error and for the confusion and inconvenience caused to the Senate membership at this late stage.

“This error was under the unique and unexpected challenges to our bill review and drafting caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect on this legislative session, even as we were attempting to ensure we were as thorough as possible, and in no means was it inserted because of other hidden agendas or outside influences.”

State Senator Donovan Dela Cruz on Thursday said the bill is now dead because no agreement was reached in time for at least a 24-hour layover before today’s legislative session adjournment. Aloha Stadium had been poised to undergo a transformation after Governor David Ige in July 2019 signed into law a bill to provide $350m (£276.9m/€309.5m) in funding for a new stadium development.

The bill had been looked upon as the last significant piece of stadium legislation before the state began targeting bids for a public-private partnership in the development of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District. The state had been seeking to issue a request for proposals from priority-listed developers this month, from a list of six that responded to a May 26 request for qualifications.

Image: Aloha Stadium