The Houston Astrodome has a unique place in the city’s history. This page is a collection of news and commentary on the current dilemma of what to do with it now that it is no longer used as a sports stadium.
No bonds will be issued. No taxes will be increased. Harris County taxpayers will only spend $35 million of General Fund Revenue. The balance will come from the Hotel Occupancy Tax and the Parking Enterprise Fund. The underground parking revenue will be used for upkeep. Instead of wasting $30 – 50 million to demolish the Astrodome and have nothing to show for it, Harris County residents will be able to benefit from what is roughly a billion dollar asset. Finally a plan that makes financial, community and historical sense.
The conservancy is considering other temporary uses for the Astrodome, including artistic installations, food and wine festivals, sporting activities and more, she said. The cost of implementing the group’s proposed ideas range between $100,000 and $5 million, she said. The conservancy hired New York-based HR&A Advisors to develop those short-term activations.
The “Star Dome” might require 125 or more projectors, Jest said, “but it’s not that difficult technically.”
The point, he said, would be to instill something new and unique that stays true to the Dome but reinvents it. A dazzling light show could be one aspect of it. But his massive projection system could also project movies: “A giant drive-in!,” he said. “Artistically, it’s a wild platform for anything you could want.”
Think of it: The exquisite circular geometry of that fiveacre pie of more than 4,000 translucent skylights could hold an everchanging, eyepopping kaleidoscope — an attraction that would dwarf even the cool experience of the Buffalo Bayou Cistern, creating starry, starry nights that could only happen in a Houston universe.
A bright and prosperous future depends on whether we Houstonians exercise a little historic-preservation imagination, an attribute that has rarely been part of the Bayou City ethos.
Senator Whitmire’s bill (SB 884) calls for Texas counties with at least 3.3 million residents to obtain voter approval to redevelop sports facilities older than 50 years if the project costs 10 million dollars or more.
“The Astrodome’s days of sitting idle and abandoned are over,” said County Judge Emmett. “Instead, Harris County’s most recognized building will again be proud and useful – as host to thousands of area residents attending a variety of business and community events. Hundreds of people worked very hard to see that happen, and I’m proud that this day has finally arrived.”
“The Astrodome is not just an important part of Houston’s cultural history,” said Mark Wolfe, THC’s Executive Director. “Architecturally, it is one of the most significant sports and entertainment venues in history, setting the standard for modern facilities around the world.”
Harris County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to move forward with a major renovation project that could keep the Astrodome from being demolished for years to come.
The $10.5 million approved Tuesday is the first piece of a $105 million project that would raise the floor of the Astrodome two levels and put 1,400 parking spaces underneath. County officials believe that would make the Dome suitable for festivals or conferences and usher in potential commercial uses in the more than 550,000 square feet that surrounds the core.
THE ISSUANCE OF $217,000,000.00 HARRIS COUNTY ASTRODOME REDEVELOPMENT BONDS AND THE LEVYING OF AN ADDITIONAL SEPARATE AD VALOREM TAX IN PAYMENT THEREOF WHICH IS ANTICIPATED TO INCREASE TAX RATES WITHIN SAID COUNTY.
“They’re not trying to fund necessarily the Astrodome project itself. The county will be handling all of that. What this group is one of several actually that wants to use the Astrodome going forward. So they’re already getting out ahead of it,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett told KPRC2. “After the county finishes building a new floor and the parking, then (the groups) want to go in, and very similar to what’s happening at Discovery Green and the zoo, and start maximizing the use of the other parts of the Astrodome. So they are forward thinking and they have a lot of great ideas about what to do.”