Deep Inside City and County Negotiations for an East Downtown Dynamo Stadium

When last we looked in on the stalled Dynamo Stadium deal for East Downtown, Commissioner El Franco Lee was holding the ball. Today, the HBJ‘s Ford Gunter provides a few clues about the dealmaking behind the scenes:

Lee has steadfastly refused to comment on the issue, and did not respond to interview requests. Speaking in Lee’s place during several recent interviews, [Harris County Community Services Dept. Director David] Turkel has become more guarded, citing the delicate situation and his desire to avoid hampering a possible agreement. In a nutshell, though, Lee wants concessions from the city and the team that he has not yet received.

“Lee is not comfortable putting it on the agenda as is, because it will get voted down,” Turkel says.

For one, the county is looking at who will own the stadium after the lease runs out in about 30 years, and how that would affect a deal in which the city would buy out the county’s share. Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia wants Dynamo family ticket packs priced comparably to movie tickets, which has been more or less agreed upon.

What is Lee really after?


Fox 26’s Mark Berman is more explicit, reporting that Lee now wants the county to buy out half of the 12-acre site between Texas, Dowling, Hutchens, and Walker streets that the city has already purchased for the stadium. Berman also reports that the city and county have both asked the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority to take “a limited administrative role in construction” of the stadium. That organization’s board has a special meeting scheduled for Monday.

Any agreement would have to pass the Commissioner’s Court as well as City Council.

Rendering of proposed new Dynamo Stadium: ICON Venue Group

6 Comment

  • Great plan. Private organization wants to be build their own stadium and asks that the City and County pay them back a portion of the costs in the future through the increased tax value that the private organization creates. City goes out and buys the land for the stadium (I’ll admit, that part is a little stinky). So essentially the County is being asked to contribute a portion of the increase in tax value created. That’s all. Now Lee wants to go buy 1/2 of the land from the City. WTH for? Dynamo is the one of of pocket, not the Harris County Sports Authority, not like the Juice Box, the Power Stadium and the Recall Center. Someone steps up the plate and now the County is jerking them around. Typical Lee. I know at one point the Dynamo agreed to let TSU play there. What more can you ask for?

  • I think the involvement of the Sports Authority will only serve to further solidify the position of the Dynamo, and association football, in the Houston sports landscape. The haters can hate, and will. But the fact remains that this deal makes sense. And if the County wants to purchase 1/2 the land to ensure 1/2 control at the expiration of the lease, so be it. It’s time to get this project moving forward. Let them build!

  • The Sports Authority of course will decide and most likely everything is being agreed to in the back rooms. And will merely need to be rubber-stamped by the city and county.

    The whole thing stinks. But when you go back in time, they all have. And none of the deals stank more than the Astrodome.

    Thems that got shall get. Usually with the taxpayers giving what they get.

  • Dynamo is owned by a California corporation. The team doesn’t fill Robertson Stadium as it is. Matt is right in that the other stadium deal stunk too, but that doesn’t mean we should continue pour taxpayer $ down another hole so an out of state corp. can make more $ than they are now.

  • You say “doesn’t fill Robertson Stadium ‘as is’ ” as if they were asking for a bigger one, rather than a smaller one. They’re looking to build (and pay for the construction of) a 22,000 seat stadium.

    This is a smaller crowd than they get for a typical playoff game, because they want to sell season tickets and get every game attended well.

  • The fact of the matter is that the Dynamo are in negotiations with UH. UH needs the Dynamo to make the numbers work on the Robertson renovation/replacement. Until UH makes a final go/no-go decision on Robertson’s future, none of the other proposals will see the light of day.

    The Dynamo/Robertson deal will be a win-win if they can make it work. The other proposals are Plan B or C.