County Wants To Fill In the Astrodome’s Flood Levels with Parking

COUNTY WANTS TO FILL IN THE ASTRODOME’S FLOOD LEVELS WITH PARKING AstrodomeThere are still no set plans for what will eventually happen to the Astrodome, but the county is already gearing up to work on the parking situation. Tomorrow the county commissioners court will look over an engineering report on plans to raise the main floor of the structure (which currently sits some 30 feet below the surrounding grade) and stick a 2-story 1,400-space parking garage beneath it. The meeting’s agenda indicates that approvals on specifics for the roughly $105 million plan won’t be put to a vote until September; a spokesman for county judge Ed Emmett also tells Mihir Zaveri that no construction would start until after the Super Bowl, regardless of approval. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

16 Comment

  • What a strange idea: put a parking garage inside the Astrodome? So, the garage is effectively wrapped by the Dome for a super secure facility?

  • I think we should create dedicated below ground level entrances from the major roadways in and out of the dome and use it as a “Grand Central” transportation center. Raise up the the main floor as described create the Transportation center below it. Set up for using with the park and ride bus system, plus run rail spurs from Metros’ rail into this area. Create covered walkways or tunnels to NRG facilities. Above the transportation center, the “new” floor of the dome could be used as an exhibition hall, contain shops and more.

  • Heard about this the other day on kuhf interview. This is the coolest idea yet .. … especially the winding “trails” and abundance of trees.

  • I have an idea, let’s spend less than half that and knock it down and you still get your parking. There’s nothing feasible that can be done with that building or it would’ve been done by now.

  • Parking, really? It’s right in the middle of probably the biggest parking lot in Houston already, and it has its own dedicated light rail stop. “More parking” is not our future. Doing that to the dome would be the precise opposite of transforming it into a monument future Houstonians will be proud to have represent their city. Any other conceivable use would be better and more respectful than that, including tearing it down.

  • We should just blow it up if it wasn’t so expensive and then or maybe we should leave it and build the world’s largest indoor thing that we can pay for by taxing super bowls or just sell it to Tillman Fertita so he can turn it into a giant casino if the legislature would legalize gambling or maybe we can park cars in it for $75,000 a parking space or just have giant bingo tournaments in it or . . .
    I give up. I really just do not care anymore.

  • That comes to about $75,000 per parking space. That’s about triple the cost of a typical parking garage. Wonder why this is coming in so high? Maybe other work is included in the $105m figure?

  • Of course the d-bags @ Harris County have their own agenda and don’t give a flip what we. the VOTERS/TAXPAYERS want. Which we made abundantly clear several years ago when we voted to TEAR the damn thing down. Ed Emmett should be impeached. And indicted.It’s bs politics as usual.

  • I agree with everybody.
    Parking’s the only thing needed and surface parking is the most cost effective ‘reuse.’
    But why must you rain on the dream parade? You’ve got to expect a lot of hoping for such a beloved place as the Dome.

  • @HappyGoLucky: No one voted to tear it down. We voted not to spend money to refurbish it. Big difference. The only way forward is a multi-option vote. Tear it down, fix it up or keep paying to do neither. Spell out the costs of each so voters won’t assume doing nothing is free.

  • So it stays as a monument and we sing “Happy Birthday” to it every so often and it doubles as a parking lot. Somehow the county has managed to intervene and give both parties a reason to be depressed. It could have been a skeleton-like park, a massive botanical garden, the grand terminus of a southern commuter rail circuit, along with plenty of other visionary things. After ten plus years of brainstorming the place just ends up as another parking lot. How ironic.

    Houston doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to create unique special places. We bulldoze emerging neighborhoods to create massive traffic logjams and mandate on-site mosquito pits for detention instead of planning for community-wide projects. We just can’t help but bastardize all of our good stuff.

  • Old School, were you speaking tongue-in-cheek about the casino idea? I actually think that that’s exactly what’s called for here. Legalize gambling in this one specific location and allow a developer (Tillman Fertitta being the *obvious* choice) to do a large casino and hotel project which will compliment the exhibition facilities and drive MICE-related tourism. The facility would have a local monopoly on gambling and so — whatever the costs entailed — the Astrodome could be saved and integrated and there’d still be plenty of room for Harris County to make money on a ground lease.

    Honestly, its very very difficult to see what the holdup would be in the legislature. Its not as though Texas doesn’t already have other forms of gambling, and this would seem to tick all the boxes for pro-business policy as well as the image about everything being bigger and better in Texas. Of course…the Rodeo would be unhappy. They don’t like competition where food and drinks are concerned; but that’s supposed to be a specialty of theirs. If they suck at providing an authentic and unique experience where people would prefer to go to have parties, then that’s their problem. They should have to adapt. They might even be better for it!

  • a smart, pragmatic and conservative state would legalize gambling….texas is none of the above
    what’s the annual tab for maintenance on this dome running right now?

  • I’ve been calling for this for years. Hollow the damn thing out and boom! you’ve got instant garage parking. The only thing that people care about is it’s icon outer shell anyway.

  • @joel – Great question!!! “what’s the annual tab for maintenance on this dome running right now?”

    Apparently it depends on who you ask, and when. During Emmitt’s monumental PR campaign to push his convention center down everyone’s throat, he significantly overstated the costs to apply pressure against his opponents. It was later quietly revealed that the numbers were not even close to real, but of course it was quietly swept under the rug and no one was held accountable for publishing fraudulent financial data from a public official.

  • Turn the Dome into a super above ground garage, with multiple exits/entrances where they currently are now, and turn the surface lots into fairgrounds with Trees.

    Boom doesn’t go the dome, and NRG Park is tolerable to the eyes.