According to news reports, officials in Harris County, Texas, which includes the city of Houston, are going forward with a plan to redevelop the Astrodome, once home to baseball's Houston Astros and the defunct NFL team, the Houston Oilers. The Astros now play in Minute Maid Park, and the NFL's Houston Texans play in the city's NRG Stadium.
County commissioners approved a plan Tuesday for the old facility to develop two levels of underground parking, comprising 1,400 spaces, and nearly eight acres of column-free exhibit space on top for use by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and other events. How the site's additional 500,000 square feet of space will be redeveloped will be determined at a later date.
The project is expected to cost $105 million. Phase one, featuring engineering and architectural work, is projected to take 12-18 months. Phase two construction would take another two to three years. Financing is expected to come from the Harris County General Fund, revenues from hotel occupancy tax (Houston's 17 percent is one of the highest in the country) and the city's Enterprise Parking Fund.
The fate of the stadium had been up in the air since election day 2013, when Texas voters rejected a referendum that would have authorized up to $217 million in bonds to turn the Houston Astrodome into a large convention center. News reports at the time said the facility probably would be demolished; yesterday's action by the county commissioners saves what once was called the eighth wonder of the world.
Photograph by Mark Green