The push to replace Aloha Stadium with a smaller, more modern facility is gaining momentum, as officials are moving ahead with plans for a new stadium.
Home to University of Hawaii at Manoa football and a longtime host of the NFL Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium first opened as a multipurpose venue in 1975. Discussions have picked up in recent years about replacing the facility, with the university and other entities looking for a venue that is more conducive to the football program and offers fewer maintenance issues than the 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium.
That effort received a boost on Thursday, when the Hawaii Stadium Authority voted to move forward with a concept for a smaller stadium that would seat 30,000 to 40,000 spectators. The proposal also calls for redevelopment to take place on and around the existing stadium site.
The vote by the authority does not finalize the effort, as the matter will be considered by the state legislature. However, some details were released on how the final plan could take shape. More from Pacific Business News:
A new stadium along with the proposed Honolulu rail transit project and associated transit oriented development would create opportunities for new types of events as well as other developments at the site, including residential and commercial projects.
The resolution comes at a time when both the city and federal deed restrictions on the Central Oahu stadium site are expected to be lifted. A Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation rail transit station is also being built on the current stadium site.
The recent removal of a long-standing deed restriction clears the way for redevelopment plans involving some 100 acres of land at the stadium, which opened in 1975.
“This has created an opportune time for the state to determine the prudent path to ensure the highest and best use of its resource,” Ross Yamasaki, chairman of the Stadium Authority, said in a statement.
The NFL hosted the Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium each year from 1980-2009. While the league has made a point of moving the game around in recent years, it did return to Aloha Stadium from 2011-2014 before making another appearance at the stadium last year.
Image courtesy Aloha Stadium.