The Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation this week approved a June 10th deadline for all private proposals to redevelop the Astrodome. That’s a notable event not only because of the somewhat hurried timeframe, but also because the organization appears to have left out a possibly minor step: Formally requesting private proposals to redevelop the Astrodome in the first place.
If that sounds a little odd to you, rest assured this sort of oversight is entirely within character for the 13-year-old quasi-governmental body, whose major achievement has been to shepherd Houston’s most famous building on a steady path from viable sports, entertainment, and celebrity ball-shagging venue to decaying, moldy relic. Hasn’t the corporation been soliciting plans all this time?
Well, not really. Back in 2003, the HCSCC did issue an actual public request for proposals to redevelop the Dome. But the structure of that “search” doomed it to failure: Then-chairman Michael Surface explicitly stated that the organization was not interested in entertaining any ideas that did not come directly from capable, experienced developers — and that they wouldn’t consider working with experienced developers who didn’t come with their own ideas. Later, he steered the selected group to transform its idea entirely — into one of the many otherwise-viable concepts opposed by the Houston Texans and the Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Dome’s resentful neighbors.
More recently, the HCSCC’s new leaders have declared that they’re willing to consider all viable suggestions. And the organiztion has steered a fair amount of money into studies of a few of them. Meanwhile, reports of the Astrodome’s sorry condition have prompted all sorts of suggestions from Houstonians. Judging from the comments submitted to every Swamplot story on this subject — and the many other publications that have written about it — people are interested in trying to solve the problem.
But if proposals don’t arrive on the HCSCC’s desk by the deadline in whatever unspecified form they haven’t been requested in, they’re just talk. And by June 10th, you’ll be asked to shut up about them, please, while county commissioners vote on whatever proposals the HCSCC does end up passing on to them for consideration.
- Astrodome gets its doomsday date? Hard deadline finally set to decide iconic, vacant Dome’s future [Culturemap]
- Sports agency to collect Dome proposals [Houston Chronicle ($)]
- Astrodome coverage [Swamplot]