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Blaisdell transformation in the worksUPDATED 10:34 PM HST Mar 07, 2014Video Transcript
The Blaisdell hits the big 5-0... And the city of Honolulu wants to make it feel new again... Today planners got a fresh perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to creating an arts corridor.. KITV's Catherine Cruz joins us with these new findings.. A non- profit group of top planners from the Urban Land Institute have been in town to help begin the process for transforming the NBC--with or without 700 foot high skycrapers. The Blaisdell Area is showing its age. A leaky roof, not enough bathrooms, food concessions or parking. Few would argue it needs an overhaul... But how does a cash-strapped city pay for it? - Mayor 33: 42 - 33: 45 -"We own the land and we are going to pay for part of the building and could the private sector help? The dream is for an iconic state - of- the- art arts center. - Mayor Caldwell 3425--34:38 -"We have the arena. We have the exhibition hall. We have the concert hall we could reconfigure maybe the arena is moved to the center of the block. For me. Id' like to see more green space" And while the NBC falls within the Kakaako District, the mayor says just because the agency that oversees it wants the city to consider a super high residential tower... doesn't mean that's what's going to happen. To help pay for the plan some cities have promoters pay a seat tax, although it could drive up the price of a show. In other venues, it's a cultural tax of a penny or more to offset programs or to pay for upkeep. - Ginger White Brunetti 42:57- 43:04 "So in many instances that allows us to operate in the black and have money left over to do the required maintenance," The Urban Land Insitute sees it as an opportunity to link the capitol district and chinatown along a cultural arts path that includes McKinley High and dovetails with rail and the plans for Kakaako mauka and makai. To some its all about branding and building on what's already there. - Henry Ing 29:20 29: 34 -"Right now the mall exists through River Street, Chinatown through downtown to the capitol district. How wonderful it would be to add one more block and this arts complex they are talking about," The city is already working toward that end expanding the sidewalk behind Honolulu Hale to allow for bike path that would encourage access to Thomas Square and the steps of the Blaisell Center. And while we are seeing rapid rise of new buildings in Kakaako--the mayor says the NBC redo isn't going to happen overnight. Expect to see a series of town hall meetings as the vision for the culture and arts district takes shape.