After gathering input and ideas for years, the Final Environmental Assessment for the Blaisdell Center Master Plan is out. However, will construction be put on the back burner because of rail?
The proposed action is to demolish and reconstruct the parking garage and the Exhibition Hall. By doing that the garage would have about 500 more parking spaces. The new Exhibition Hall would be bigger and include a new 15-hundred seat Performance Hall for live performances.
The City plans to keep the Concert Hall and Arena, but they would undergo major renovations.
There will also be add-ons to the property like a sports pavilion for practices and games, an Arts Ensemble building for hula practice and the Royal Hawaiian Band, and a Satellite City Hall.
In the report, construction costs are currently estimated to be nearly $773 million.
City Council members we spoke to tell us funding would be an issue, especially with the cost of rail at the forefront.
“We need to make sure that we take care of rail and do it right, end the corruption, stabilize people’s lives where they can afford to live on Oahu and then maybe in the future start talking about these beautiful projects,” said Councilwoman Kymberly Pine.
Budget Chair Joey Manahan tells us funding details are limited, so the committee cut the city’s budget request this year for the project in half.
“Given those appropriations, I don’t think they would be able to go forward with any of the actual work they would have to come back to the council to request more funds,” said Councilman Manahan. “Given that we have a lot of expenses with rail that we are now beginning to incur and will continue to incur in the future, I think that’s the priority first and foremost.”
The Blaisdell Center is 55-years-old now and is in need of upgrades to continue to serve visitors and bring more events to Hawaii. We’ll continue to follow up and let you know what happens.
To view the Final EA, click here.