Gov. David Ige wants to speed up construction of a new Aloha Stadium in Halawa by scrapping a complex public-private partnership in favor of a more streamlined process aimed at building the new stadium.

Ige committed to completing the stadium during an appearance on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” program Wednesday morning. The newspaper reported Tuesday that Ige’s office told the state agency in charge of developing the site to halt solicitations.

Ige’s plans, whatever they may be, are likely to stay intact even with a new administration coming in January. Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who is running for governor, said he wants to “expedite the new stadium’s completion” if he is elected in November.

Republican nominee Duke Aiona also said construction should happen soon. And although he prefers a new stadium to be built on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus, he said he would be legally bound by any contracts executed under the current administration.

Gov. David Ige said he wants to simplify the process being used to develop Aloha Stadium. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat/2017

The state is expected to have more details on the new direction the stadium development is taking within the next three weeks, Mike McCartney, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, said Tuesday afternoon.

The change in direction for the new stadium was prompted by a change in the stadium’s funding from the Legislature this year, McCartney said. DBEDT is now responsible for overseeing the stadium in place of the Department of Accounting and General Services, which has worked on Aloha Stadium for decades.

There are also more funds available to build the stadium. Lawmakers appropriated $350 million in bonds backed by the state’s general treasury for stadium construction this past session.

Under the state’s previous plans, a private entity would be selected to design, construct and operate the stadium. Money set aside by the state would have gone to pay for a portion of the stadium’s construction cost.

But Ige said private funding is no longer necessary given the level of funding from the Legislature.

“We’ll be looking at simplifying the project so we can accelerate it as quickly as possible,” he said.

The project faced delays as lawmakers changed the stadium’s financing scheme several times in the last handful of years.

The state was also soliciting proposals from several private entities to develop the area surrounding the stadium into an entertainment district with housing, hotels and retail space. That process was also halted.

Ige said it still makes sense to develop the area but that there’s “a lot of work to be done to move that forward.”

The state still needs to subdivide parcels and get water, sewer and other connections to the site before work can begin.

“The entertainment district is of interest but clearly we want to get the stadium portion done and completed as quickly as possible,” Ige said.

That’s a sentiment that both candidates for governor agreed with.

“Whatever will be done at that location needs to be done now, it can’t wait,” Aiona said.

However, the former Republican lieutenant governor – who once wanted to ban alcohol at football games – thinks UH should built its own stadium at its Manoa campus. There are already plans to expand Clarence T.C. Ching Field to 17,000 seats, up from 9,000.

Aiona thinks a 20,000- to 25,000-seat stadium “would be exactly what we need … for that college presence, that atmosphere.”

But he’s still willing to build a new stadium in Halawa and was supportive of ideas to have housing and commercial businesses surrounding it.

In a text message, Green said Hawaii needs the stadium project “for our collegiate sports program, to attract international competitions, top entertainers and for our local keiki to have a place to compete.”

He said he would pursue affordable housing developments at the same time as the stadium is being built.

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