A Longer Wait Expected For Changes At The Blaisdell

Jun 7, 2019

Blaisdell Arena
Credit Robert.Allen / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Honolulu’s Blaisdell Center is heading for some changes—but not as quickly as city leaders had hoped. Pacific Business News has learned of a legislative speed bump that’s delaying the process.

The City and County of Honolulu had hoped to issue a request for proposals for its planned $800 million redevelopment of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center by the end of 2018, but that hasn’t quite happened yet. It turns out there is a state law that requires any entity that submits proposals to do construction projects first be licensed as a general contractor.

The city is redeveloping the Blaisdell Center in a public-private partnership however which means that the entities likely to submit proposals for the project will include developers, financial partners and operations and management entities.

Guy Kaulukukui, director of Honolulu’s Department of Enterprise Services, recently told Pacific Business News that the process will have to slow down by as much as a year to give companies a chance to get licensed. Now, a request for qualifications is scheduled to go out in July, then an RFP in December of this year. If all goes to plan, the concert hall, exhibition hall and arena at the Blaisdell Center will close in December 2020 for two years of construction.

Under the most recent plan, the exhibition hall and the parking structure would be replaced with new buildings, while the concert hall and the arena would be rehabbed. It’s necessary to close the entire facility due to the expected utility work.

In the meantime, the city is working on sprucing up the Tom Moffatt Waikiki Shell as an alternative to the concert hall and the arena.