Astrodome Stewards Announce Deadline for Redevelopment Proposals — Without Requesting Any

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.

Photo: J.W. Sherman [license]

16 Comment

  • I hope some ambulance chasing lawyer is reviewing how horribly the HCSCC has mismanaged our money and gets a class action lawsuit going. I want my $2!

  • What’s happening with the nondisclosure agreement w/University of Southern California?
    Why do they want the dome?

  • This is just their way of wearing down dome supporters and “getting to agreement” on tearing it down. The decision has probably already been made.

  • Where is Wayne “Blowin in the Wind” Dolcefino? All of the idiots involved in this thing should be in some kind of jail.

  • I think comment #2 is on the right track. I bet this is their way of accepting the USC bid with the thinnest of pro-forma processes to cover up for it.

  • This is such a pathetic rouse to seem like they actually want to save the Dome, when in reality they’ve worked 10 times harder behind the scenes trying to get it torn down. I’d just appreciate some honesty. Just say, we really don’t care about The Astrodome and are in the pocket of the Mr McNair and want to bulldoze it and put up a parking lot. It’s nice to actually be kissed before you’re f*cked. I have great memories of the Dome, but I’m resigned to it being at the very least stripped to it’s steel framework as part of a park–that’s actually an idea I’d support, but I’d never support tearing it down for parking for the Texans, we’ve given the Texans far too much and I’m still waiting for our Lombardi Trophy

  • It infuriates me that we’ve had 10+ years to make a decision, but are now being told that we’ve got to hurry up and make up our minds?!
    The Superbowl is not worth destroying Houston history. To be honest, we’ve probably got it in the bag anyway. There’s no way that Miami is going to be us out. They don’t even have a revenue stream for their stadium improvements. Look it up. And after their debacle with the Marlins’ new stadium, there’s no way they’re going to get public financing for it. Why are we hurrying this decision?!
    This is a recipe for a terrible, terrible outcome for the dome if we allow this to proceed. I feel as if the Rodeo and Mr. McNair are using their $ and influence to get their preferred outcome- more parking.
    We’re screwed.

  • _[TT]___

    Yes, it’s a bulldozer.

  • Has a large scale sports stadium ever been completely repurposed before? I get the impression that operating such a facility is ridiculously expensive, so it basically takes a mixture of taxpayer subsidies and large crowds to pay for them.

    I’m not really in the mood to pay more taxes to keep a building with no self sustaining use around, especially one that is managed through the political process.

    Can we not start from scratch and build something aesthetically historical that is perpetually useful and/or doesn’t require complicated upkeep to keep it from being condemned?

    The argumentum ad absurdum to the Dome situation would be keeping the Space Shuttle in flying condition. Not useful, dreadfully expensive and no one would be willing to fund it on their own.

    It’s all a matter of cost.

  • anyone looked at how much revenue has been lost in the 10yrs that this hasn’t bee n tore down?

    if we’re on the hook for the debt regardless then it’s time to get rid of it and create some revenue.

  • The Summit was repurposed. just saying.

  • Tear it down and turn into fairgrounds/tailgating/parking area. Just don’t put one large parking lot down.

  • Turn it into an indoor skeet and trap shooting range.

  • @11 is another televangelist looking for a new home?

  • Lake Astrodome anyone? Could be the finest angler hole inside the Loop. Who’s got bait?

  • Fact check on one point. We have been formally asked to submit a proposal, and I know for a fact that others have also been asked. And we will submit a proposal before the deadline, by the way. The more actual reality veers away from what is reported in the media including blogs, the more those of us who are operating in the real world every day will stop reading or watching any media at all.

    By the way, the Institute for Creative Technologies at USC, the entity that requested the NDA, is doing amazing things and partnering with entertainment technology leaders to create experiences and media for education, military and museum partners. They may have something really spectacular in mind, and we can be great local partners for them. :)