Under-utilized. That’s what some lawmakers believe when they think of Aloha Stadium. So they want to open it up as a development district, in other words, not just a new stadium.

Discussions of redeveloping Aloha Stadium have been on-going for years, but a couple of lawmakers tell us this time, their proposals will gain traction.   

Both proposals, SB 1530 and HB 1497, would first transform the Aloha Stadium property into a developing district under the Hawaii Community Development Authority. 

“So we can see condos, businesses, and restaurants that sort of thing?”

“Right, exactly. Parks, additional spaces that make this more than just a stadium and a parking lot,” said Representative Aaron Johanson, “I think it needs to be specific to the stadium, keep in mind what the community wants and what it embraces as part of its identity.”

What’s different about these measures is that they lay out a funding structure, with an investment of about $350 million from the state.  

“So when you asked how are we going to pay for bonds, for the $350 million future stadium, it’s going to come from lease payments. I think the state should and can do much better than what we see behind us. We should be getting $50 million in lease payments, not $5 million from swap meets and carnivals.”

The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is the stadium’s largest tenant, so we asked a couple of vendors what they thought about the redevelopment plans.

Vendors we spoke to want to see the stadium get a major facelift, but also keeping in mind the small businesses. 

“I do also need to have more family businesses like little businesses for families. We cannot afford to go out to shopping center, this is how we pay our rent,” said Sita Shore of Island Tropical Fresh Fruit. 

“It’s definitely going to impact us as we’re looking for more commercial space, which tends to be kind of expensive here in the state. The stadium allows a lot of small businesses to thrive and I hope there is more dialogue in the future about what is open for all of us,” said Alexander Hernandez of Green Tea Hawaii. 

The measures have been introduced and an Environmental Impact Statement is underway.

Aloha Stadium Manager Scott Chan said in a statement: 

“We appreciate the Legislature’s interest and support for the potential redevelopment of Aloha Stadium. We have not yet had the opportunity to review and analyze all of the measures introduced this session related to the stadium. However, we look forward to actively working with both the Legislature and the administration to address the needs of the current stadium and explore options for a new facility and ancillary development of the site.”