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Next Boondoggle: $44M Blaisdell Renovation
By News Release @ 11:38 PM :: 2057 Views :: Honolulu County

City begins $44M renovation project across Neal S. Blaisdell Center campus

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, March 29, 2023

HONOLULU – A series of much-needed renovation projects across the Neal S. Blaisdell Center campus are currently underway, with the City and County of Honolulu’s flagship events center looking to provide timely improvements to address health, safety and deferred maintenance concerns, as well as to modernize the facilities to help meet current standards of performance.

A variety of construction and infrastructure improvement projects are currently slated for the Blaisdell’s Arena, Concert Hall, Exhibition Hall and Hawaii Suites meeting rooms. The construction projects will require temporary closures of venues and portions of the Blaisdell campus through June 2024.

The Blaisdell Center, formerly called the Hawaii International Center (HIC), was originally constructed in 1964. The Exhibition Hall and the facility’s administrative building, including the Galleria and Box Office, were renovated in 1992, though original equipment from 1964 is still being utilized today in many other areas across the Blaisdell campus. 

$43.6 million has been appropriated for capital improvement projects that are being managed by the City’s Department of Design and Construction, as well as architectural and engineering work headed up by consultants Pacific Architects, Inc. and WCIT.

“The revitalization of the Blaisdell Center’s facilities is necessary and cannot be delayed any further,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “The Blaisdell plays a very significant role in the community, as it has provided a complex for a multitude of events for almost 60 years, including live concerts, sports tournaments, graduations, Broadway shows, song and hula competitions, and annual trade shows and expos.

“We ask for the public’s patience and understanding as we launch an improvement initiative to ensure this special place is maintained so that we can continue to house a diversity of events and create new, long-lasting memories going forward, added Mayor Blangiardi.” 

Planned construction details and temporary closure dates for each facility are as follows:


  • Improvement projects at the Blaisdell Arena include:
  • Improvements to the arena’s structural performance grid and safety railings, allowing for better performance loading to suit the increased technological demands of many modern concerts and performances.
  • Replacement of the perimeter entry and exit doors to the facility, which are original from 1964.
  • Renovations to public restrooms, including the addition of family restrooms.
  • Renovation of back-of-house areas, including performers’ dressing rooms.
  • A variety of electrical and house lighting upgrades, including the installation of energy-efficient LED house lighting components.
  • Anticipated Arena closure dates: May 2023 to November 2023

Exhibition Hall/Hawaii Suites

  • Construction projects in the Exhibition Hall will include:
  • Replacement of the air handling units.
  • Roof repairs and improvements.
  • The complete renovation of the Hawaii Suites meeting rooms, including telecommunication infrastructure.
  • Renovations to the concession kitchen.
  • Anticipated closure dates for the Exhibition Hall: July 2023 to August 2023
  • Anticipated closure dates for the Hawaii Suites meeting rooms: April 2023 to October 2023

Concert Hall

  • Improvement projects at the Blaisdell Arena include:
  • Improvements to the above-stage performance grid structure
  • Repairs to areas of spalling concrete
  • Replacement of the facility’s roof
  • Replacement of the cooling towers for air conditioning,
  • A variety of fire suppression system and electrical upgrades
  • Renovations to back-of-house facilities, including performer dressing rooms.
  • Anticipated Closure dates: July 2023 to June 30, 2024

Campus-wide Projects

In addition to the projects listed above, campus-wide improvements to public areas are scheduled to take place over the coming year, including walkway lighting upgrades, paving of deteriorated areas of the parking lot, the installation of new telecommunications infrastructure, and a new trash compactor facility.

These construction projects will not require the full closure of any facilities but may impact access to portions of the campus.

As bid solicitations for some projects are currently in-progress, with details forthcoming, facility closure dates may be shifted to accommodate mobilization and supply chain schedules. To book an event, the public is encouraged to contact the Blaisdell Center to inquire about venue availability, as portions of the Blaisdell Center and the Tom Moffatt Waikīkī Shell will remain open and operating.

The following link provides the most current updates to our facility closure dates:



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