HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Neal S. Blaisdell Center will likely be getting a major face-lift in the coming years.
According to renderings released by Snohetta, an international architectural design company tasked with developing the site’s master plan, the complex could include a new performance hall and a sports pavilion.
Besides these new facilities, current buildings will also be getting additional available seats, and about 900 more parking spaces will be added.
“I think it will generate more income, and hopefully more concerts will come over here,” said Paul Tanaka, a resident of the nearby Kaka’ako area. “I think they’re going to make it bigger so more people can attend.”
The expanded areas will also support a variety of outdoor performance and recreation activities. A series of pools, cascading waterfalls and an interactive fountain will also be added to emphasis the significance of water in Hawaiian culture.
The total cost is estimated to be about $679.3 million, according to the project’s website.
While the renovations and development will increase capacity for different events held at the center, not everyone is looking forward to these changes.
Daniel Gefroh has attended a multitude of events held at the center, whether they’re concerts or graduation events. Even when the center isn’t open, he enjoys walking his dog around the area and just taking in the open air.
To Gefroh, the changes to the center aren’t needed.
“I don't really like the idea of renovating it actually,” Gefroh said. “I realize that it would take more tax dollars, and maybe they shouldn't prioritize them toward this.”
But Guy Kaulukukui, director of the Department of Enterprise Services, said the project will be executed in a cost-effective way and that officials are extensively engaging with community members to allow for open communication.
"I know that a large percentage of the folks I've personally engaged with are looking forward to what we're proposing and over the course of the whole thing, that we're going to do this in a fiscally responsible way, which I believe we are doing,” Kaulukukui said.
Officials plan to confirm a development partner before the end of the year, with construction beginning in 2020 and lasting two to three years. The Blaisdell Center will be closed for construction during the duration of that time.