Comment of the Day: The Astrodome Honeypot Plan, Cheaper Than Demolition

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE ASTRODOME HONEYPOT PLAN, CHEAPER THAN DEMOLITION “If someone just gave me $50 million, I’d structure a perpetuity yielding no less than a 1.2% return (which shouldn’t be at all difficult when 30-year T-bonds yield a 2.85% return) and maintain the Dome FOREVER. I say this because I recall a Chronicle article citing a cost of $600,000 per year to maintain it in mothballs. That’s just not very much money. Unless there’s a pressing need to spend $140 per square foot to reclaim the land (which would be idiotic given that Astroworld sold its land for $17 PSF and that the Reliant Arena is also on the chopping block and would yield more land), then the only thing that could possibly make sense is to do nothing. Simply wait. Then . . . the first private concern that can pony up the cash to do something appropriate with the venue that will generate hotel and/or sales tax revenue gets to capture the $600k per year for themselves. I suspect that it wouldn’t take particularly long. And then the taxpayers come out AHEAD as compared to demolishing it and the politicians get to take well-deserved credit.” [TheNiche]

12 Comment

  • The reason the county is pushing to do something with the dome is because the 600k a year to maintain the dome is a complete waste of money. And the reason the county is pushing for a bond initiative is because no private investor from now until the end of time would put up the millions needed to develop a hotel/convention center on the south side of Houston. The Astrodome is a taxpayer money pit. The only question is how deep.

  • Mr. TheNiche

    You have some nerve. Presenting a proposal that seems to make sense for all parties involved and with no apparent hidden agenda. How dare you.

  • @ Old School: I don’t think you’re getting the whole time value of money concept. What I’m saying is that bothering to demolish the dome would be a greater waste of money than doing nothing with it — FOREVER. Eventually there will be a viable private proposal. It may take fifty years, but it will happen. It’s considerably cheaper that the Dome should be ready and waiting at that point than that we demolish it now.

  • Let me get this straight, Old School. You want Harris County to issue bonds in the amount of $68 million to tear down the Astrodome which is currently costing the taxpayers $600k a YEAR to keep in mothballs???

    Really??? Are you so old school that your abacus is broken???

    If Harris County issues bonds in the amount of $68 million to tear down the Astrodome and those bonds require the county to pay 4% annually in interest, then Harris County will then be paying $2,720,000/year in interest on the demolition cost of an asset that no longer exists.

    How exactly do you define a money pit?

  • If someone gave me $50 million, I would most likely pocket it. Good plan, though.

    Like I’ve said before, every great building in history goes through a period where people don’t realize why it should be kept. The Colosseum was plundered for marble to build Christian churches. The Parthenon was used to store gunpowder. Canterbury Cathedral was used as a pen for livestock. If the building can survive this period, then the future is bright.

  • Turning the Astrodome into a Mini-Storage is the only viable plan.

  • Why can’t they just gut it of most of the things that rot and leave the iron and concrete in place. Surely that type of demo can’t be 60 million. Or just take the damn roof off so it can air out. No reason to keep te moisture bundled in.

  • Benny, you need to dream bigger. MEGA-storage. Or, TEXAS-SIZED storage in the promo materials. I’m thinking a dry dock and RV park. Convert the bleachers to storage, perhaps, but banish all mention of the word “mini”.

  • I would think the Dome’s maintenance costs will escalate as it continues to deteriorate.

  • Except that $20-$30M is likely a more realistic cost to remove it. The $50-$60M figure is the Christmas tree (20-30) with double that amount added before the politicians get revved up. Expect that the number is probably nearer $100M after all the miscellaneous payoffs are added.

  • I don’t know whether the $600k/yr. mothballing expense included any reserves to address those contingencies. Regardless, I’d think that any maintenance other than a critical structural issue could be deferred indefinitely. So basically, just address spalling, corrosion, and security, then keep an eye on it and let it be. If there’s a period of high inflation, that could throw things out of whack. But it’d have to be a pretty severe circumstance in order to get to a point where it makes more sense to demolish than mothball.

  • @ Ryan, Point taken!! haha. Worlds largest MEga Storage!! I really think that it can be gutted, sold for souvenirs and built out in phases for a MEGa storage. If I wasnt broke I would do it myself