State Looks To Lift Deed Restriction On Aloha Stadium

Jessica Goolsby
Wednesday - May 05, 2010
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The state of Hawaii is looking to lift a deed restriction with the federal government to allow for the commercial use and/or development of the land around Aloha Stadium, as well as the stadium itself.

As the agreement stands, the land is to be used for public recreational purposes only - a restriction state comptroller Russ Saito and local government hope to remove in the near future.

“The restriction only applies to about 56 acres of the stadium’s 100 acres of property, but it affects operations on the entire property,” Saito explained. “The United States Department of the Interior, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the state Department of Accounting and General Services have an agreement now that says they (Dept. of the Interior) will lift the restriction if we can find a property of equal value to transfer the deed restriction to.”


The state and Department of the Interior are reviewing a short list of areas to determine a possible site not currently in recreational use that could fulfill the requirements. As part of that determination, the federal government requires that the state provide a recreational use plan for properties the state would want to propose for lifting the deed restriction.

If the deed restriction is successfully removed, the transfer will allow commercial activities at the stadium and bring in more revenue for the state.

“If you hold a concert and it’s open it to the public, that’s recreational use. But if a private company came in and wanted to rent the stadium and invite only selected clients to the concert, that’s commercial use, which isn’t currently allowed. That’s revenue lost.” Saito explained.

Saito hopes to pursue other commercial uses for the property, which may involve other facilities, and perhaps even a new stadium on the site after the repaired and refurbished stadium wears out.

These initiatives would seek to improve revenues from the stadium via private-public partnerships involving requests for interest, requests for qualifications and requests for proposals at appropriate times. The planning and approval process would be subject to and will invite public review and comment.

In the mean time, Aloha Stadium is undergoing a complete renovation (estimated at $100 million in 2005 dollars) to completely refurbish the Oahu landmark. Work to reinforce the bridges that connect the seating sections has been completed, and replacement of the roof deck to repair rust damage is under way, as is work to address all health and safety improvements.

Future phases of the restoration will see the refurbishment/replacement of the stadium’s seats as well as added seating installations in open parts of the structure.

“When we’re done, the stadium will be like new again and it should be able to last another 20 years,” Saito said, adding that renovations and the potential restriction lift should not affect the stadium’s weekly swap meet.

“The swap meet just uses the parking areas around the stadium,” he said,“so as long as there is space in the parking area for those vendors, I think construction and commercial events could be scheduled so as not to interrupt vendors’ businesses.”

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