Reliant Park Crews Plan To Begin Astrodome Demolition Next Monday

Not the whole stadium — not yet, anyway — but Mark Miller, the general manager of Reliant Park, says that all the Astrodome’s exterior features will be knocked down as early as next week. And that appears to include everything that leads right up to the Dome’s walls: Not just the ticket booths that appeared Wednesday in the Daily Demolition Report, but also the concrete stairs, ramps, grass berms, substations, and transmission lines that you can see in the photo above.


Might this seem hasty, especially since Harris County voters won’t decide for another month whether to approve that $194 million plan to trim it down and clean it up into a convention center? Miller contends that these exterior features present some safety and health issues and would need to go away anyway, since that convention center plan, if approved, calls for these very things to be removed and replaced with glass-walled entrances and a kind of peripheral tree-lined courtyard.

But what happens if the ballot measure fails? County commissioner Jack Morman and Judge Ed Emmett have expressed that a “no” vote will likely be a “death knell” for the Dome. And with these preemptive strikes on its exterior, the county would have on its hands a Dome with the even more unsightly and highly suggestive appearance of a demo site. And maybe then Cherry Demolition’s Mike Dokell, whose company appears to be in charge of this first project and who told the Houston Business Journal in 2010 that his company would “love to be part” of the Dome’s demise, would, at last, get his wish.

If you want some help visualizing the parts of the Dome that Reliant Park crews will begin removing, check out this video from the New Dome political action committee. It’s a longer version of the 30-second spot the committee put together to urge voters to get with the program and approve the ballot measure. Zoom ahead to the 2:49 mark.

Images: Candace Garcia (photo); New Dome PAC (video)

23 Comment

  • Something definitely political in the timing of this. It obviously will make the dome look worse in news reports leading up to Nov. 5th where images will show scraggly metal and concrete chunks at all four entrances.

    Nothing to lose timetable-wise by leaving the damn thing alone for another month.

  • Oh this is so political, give me a break. You can’t tell me this can’t wait, they’ve waited 15 years and now all of the sudden the ramps etc are so dangerous they could collapse at any time–please! We’ll show people what it looks like to start to bulldoze the Icon people will be more motivated to save it. This all but guarantees its survival, smart move, but oh so transparent.

  • Meh.. I say it’s a good start..

  • Definitely bad timing for the Dome. This isn’t going to help the Dome’s chances coming early November. Motorists are going to drive-by and think the entire Dome’s fate is sealed. Curious on how many Houstonians know about the upcoming Nov. 5 election. The Dome’s revitalization hasn’t gotten much media coverage. Not a mention of it on Sports 790 AM during the ‘Stros games. Little mention of it on the Houston Chronicle. The best coverage has been on….Swamplot.

    Vote to ‘Save the Dome’ on November 5.

  • I think it’e leading up to surprise demolition of the whole thing. They will either accidentally knock something major down, or will find something so structurally unsound that the whole thing cannot be left standing. Still, a win win.

  • politically motivated? come on guys, it’s already a win-win situation for these guys and you know the commissioners court will get whatever kickbacks they want/need no matter who gets the final contract: demolish or refurbish.

    i’m of course for demolishing it, but god forbid what these fools dream up to blow more taxpayer money on in it’s empty wake.

  • This will actually save the dome. Nobody appreciates what looks like a preemptive demolition. It isn’t the least bit credible that this couldn’t have waited until after the election, it’s laughable that this needed to be done immediately, someone should have to answer why this is being done before the election. Whatever side of the issue you support, nobody wants something done that could unfairly corrupt the process, tho it could be argued this demolition cuts both ways, still it should wait.

  • Well according to the plans, the things that are going to be demolished will be demolished regardless if the proposal passes. This way they can put this phase on this years budget and either demo or renovate on next years agenda.

    I love the redo proposal, it would fit in well with the rest of Reliant Park.

  • Noooooo!!! When this becomes the greatest convention center in the world (as Emmett dreams it), the tickets booths could function as unicorn stalls, and the spiral ramps as a Jacob’s ladder for pilgrims. What are they thinking?!?

  • Commonsense might be right, it could be an exploratory demolition looking for something disastrous they are 75% sure is there.

  • Weren’t most of things later additions to the original Dome anyway?

  • This should not be legal. Where are they getting the money to do this? It is highly suspect in view of the fact that on October 19th (just about two weeks away from this demo planned for Monday) is when the Texas Historic Commission is meeting to approve the Astrodome’s application for state historic status. (After that it goes on to consideration for national status. Should be no question of recognition!) Once approved, the Astrodome will be listed on the Historic Registry and will qualify for millions in grants. Federal HUD grant gave the county $4.5 million towards restoring the Sylvan Beach Pavilion in La Porte JUST TWO MONTHS after it became nationally recognized. American Express has just announced they will be giving part of their $2 million marked to save historic buildings toward the Astrodome. The Sports Corp is doing everything they can as fast as they can to do WHAT THEY WANT with the Dome and not what is best for the building OR for taxpayers.

  • Former County Judge Jon Lindsay has an article in the Friendswood Journal today that was misleading. He is promoting the County’s Taj Mahal plan and says that the Astrodome “sits in the middle of a parking lot with no debt on it.” So, when did they pay off the $30 million or so still owed on previous improvements which they failed to maintain? He also equated the tax increase to the cost of a Big Mac for a $200,000 home owner. Well, many taxpayers might rather all that money go towards a million Big Macs to feed the hungry children and homeless in Houston. There is money elsewhere to help with the Dome (grants mentioned in previous post). Where are the Commissioners? Judge Emmett? With the pending vote regarding the Dome on November’s ballot they should not be touching that building!

  • Fuck you Houston & this “disposable society” we live in.

  • On Monday October 7 at 5:30 pm County Judge Ed Emmett and Harris County Sports and Convention Corp Chairman Edgar Colon will be at Architecture Center Houston to discuss Harris County Proposition 2 that is on the ballot November 5th. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.

  • It’s all about getting the NEW DOME EXPERIENCE built in time for Superbowl LI. They are starting to remove things that won’t be apart of it as early as possible because if the voters SAVE THE DOME every second will count to get it going in time. I’m glad the latest poll numbers show that the majority of voters will be voting YES.

  • Cynthia, the dome will restore itself before the typical Harris County anti-tax whiner starts to give a damn about the hungry children of Houston.

  • Is this initial demolition work even legal?

  • @WR – yes, on it’s face, it’s legal. As demonstrated by pulling a permit. Which is why it showed up on this forum.

  • Too bad there’s an empty lot across the street that once held Astroworld.

  • Can we get another implosion by Cherry!

  • @John Nova Lomax: Yes, those exterior circular walkways that jut out from the Dome were added (along with new ticket box offices, a new cement floor and astroturf) in the mid-80s to keep Bud Adams happy and the Oilers from moving to Jacksonville, FL. There had been other modifications before that starting with the clear glass windows in the roof being painted over.

    As for the Dome remodeling, I’m all for it. Though I no longer live in Houston, I was born and raised there and look forward to bringing my kids to see it when we come back. A big advantage to having this new Dome is the organizers having a new ability to schedule multiple football games in one weekend without causing nearly as much damage as has happened in the past with just Reliant.

    I understand that there is some angst with it, but Houston is one of the few cities in the US that historically has typically not tried to hold on to any culturally significant edifices. This would be a great showcase piece to start changing that thinking and outside perception. Certainly, even, the old AstroWorld site could be converted to a secure parking lot for the whole complex as well. One additional hope is that the engineers replace the existing glass in the roof with electronically-controlled dimmable glass (think, windows in new Boeing 787). The only major concern I have with this is by lowering the ramp and entrances, how will they protect the interior from flooding?

  • I would give my left arm for a chance to go exploring the astrodome. I know it’s a pretty ugly site in there but yeah. Would love to get inside.