03/27/17 1:00pm

Centerfield, Minute Maid Park, Houston

Astros historian Mike Acosta, among others, has posted pics of the new Tacolandia beyond the newly reshaped centerfield wall of Minute Maid Park. Tal’s Hill, the former outfield bump that ramped up the wall, has been gone for months now, but reconstruction of other areas around the wall appears to be still ongoing. Serving burgers and tacos on the pictured mezzanine level in homerunville will be a new Shake Shack and Torchy’s, respectively. The wall, 2 additional food-service options, 3 more bars, and a new Astros-memorabilia store in the rehabbed outfield are expected to be ready for opening day next Monday.

Fans attending weigh-ins for the Geico Bassmaster Classic at the Astros’ stadium over the weekend got peeks at the final stages of construction; photos posted to Twitter this morning indicate progress overnight, as well as the new 409-ft. sign (discounted by 27 ft. from the former centerfield distance) and a plastic-ivy Astros insignia above it serving as a batter’s eye, in all its topiary-like glory:

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Torchy’s, Shake Shack, Home Runs
03/21/17 5:15pm

Houston Strikers Stadium rendering, possibly 288 at Mowery Rd., South Houston, Houston, 77045

The group of rugby aficionados called the Houston Strikers — seemingly a revival of the name of an 80’s-era semi-professional rugby club — has been showing around the rendering above of a new rugby stadium lately. The facility is said to be planned near the Houston Sports Park along 288 just south of Mowery Rd. by various rugby news sites and discussion groups; the early renderings floating around since last summer corroborate that, showing the stadium tucked next to the distinctively curved crossing of Sims Bayou under 288 (along with some parking lots and a detention basin):

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Fields by Streams off 288
08/25/16 12:45pm

Rendering of Fertitta Center at former Hofheinz Pavilion

Rendering of Fertitta Center at former Hofheinz PavilionThe $20-million basketball stadium donation previously rumored to be on its way from Landry’s owner and UH board of regents chairman Tilman Fertitta was confirmed this morning by the school, which also released renderings of what’s planned for Hofheinz Pavilion — eventually to sport the name Fertitta Center. The depictions of the $60-million upgrade  include some prominent views of a well-labeled Hofheinz Plaza, part of a deal with the Hofheinz family after a lawsuit over the basketball arena’s planned renaming.

Below are a few more shots of the plans, which UH says should be wrapped up by the end of the 2018-19 season:

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Center Moving Forward
12/15/15 3:30pm

PLANS TO PUT A HIGHRISE ON A TEXAS RANGERS STADIUM PARKING LOT RESURFACE YET AGAIN Meanwhile, in Arlington: The Arlington City Council and the Texas Rangers baseball team are discussing plans for a mixed-use highrise development on a parking lot next to Globe Life Park; the issue will be discussed at tonight’s City Council meeting. This is the fourth time plans have begun to move forward on developing the area around the stadium into a new downtown corethe last effort, in the leadup to the 2009 recession, ended in a tangle of reciprocal lawsuits between various developers of the 1.2-million-sq.-ft. “GloryPark” project and then-Rangers-owner Tom Hicks. Current plans under discussion include restaurant, retail, hotel, convention, and entertainment space; past plans have included residential development and a lake for watersports. [Dallas Morning News]

06/04/15 3:00pm

Rendering of Proposed Renovations to Minute Maid Park Center Field, Downtown Houston

The Astros announced today that the team had received preliminary approval from the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority to knock down the banked bit of center field past the Minute Maid Park warning track known as Tal’s Hill. The graded area was named after the team’s former president, Tal Smith, who first suggested including an elevation change — a rarity both in baseball and in Houston — to the stadium soon to be known as Enron Field. The proposed renovations, priced at $15 million and scheduled to take place at the end of the current season, would also straighten out the center field fence and bring it in to 409 ft. from home plate (from the current 436 ft.). More important, the opened-up space beyond would allow room for 3 new bars and 4 new food-service locations, as well as a new group seating area at the field level, which conceptual renderings of the new design released by the American League team (above and below) appear to show tucked behind a new see-through portion of the centerfield fence.

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Off Ramp
01/23/15 1:00pm

Proposed Brian Patterson Sports Performance Clinic, Rice Stadium, Rice University

It’s been notoriously difficult to fill Rice Stadium — ever since those darn Houston Oilers came to town. Even President Kennedy couldn’t do it when he came by in 1962 to introduce a little mission to the moon he had cooked up. About 8 years ago, giant logo-bearing tarps were planted over the seating areas in both end zones, reducing the capacity (though not permanently) from 70,000 to 47,000.

But the latest planned changes appear to be following a 2-fold strategy to help fill the place: First, Rice University’s new $31.5 million Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center will knock out the stadium’s entire northern end zone — including more than 11,000 seats. Even better, the mostly brick building will have a giant glass wall on the side facing the playing field, which will offer spectators tired of watching the game shaded views into 2 levels of weight rooms. If they can get the scheduling right, with gridiron and pumping-iron action running simultaneously, fans will have the opportunity to enjoy 2 attractions at once. Likewise, flexing athletes will have a pretty good view of the field — and fans, if they’re out there — while they’re working their muscles.

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Watch Them Pump and Watch
12/22/14 10:00am

OH MY GOD! THEY KILLED KYLE! Here’s a view from the front row yesterday morning as the west side of Kyle Field comes a’-tumbling down, to the cheers, hullabaloo, and whoops of a crowd police estimated at 7,000. The Aggies are eager for the final phase of the school’s ongoing stadium renovation project to come to completion.  After hauling off the 75,000 tons of debris, and rebuilding, the Aggies plan to have Kyle Field reopened — with a capacity of 102,51, the largest stadium in Texas — by September 12, when Ball State University’s gridiron warriors invade College Station in new Kyle Field’s debut. [Bryan-College Station Eagle; previously on SwamplotVideo: Ton Wagner

11/25/14 2:26pm

kyle-field-rendering

Phase 2 of Texas A&M’s $450 million Kyle Field makeover will get underway in earnest in the early morning hours of December 21, after a season-long pause to slot in the Aggies’ 2014 home-field gridiron slate. That’s when Christmas will arrive early for demolition junkies, as the stadium’s multitiered west side will come down with a bang.

Some prep work has already begun, but the pace will quicken about two hours after the conclusion of the Aggies’ season finale on Thanksgiving Day against LSU. That’s when the whole stadium will once again become a construction zone, and only those with the proper credentials will be granted entry.

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Expanding Aggieland
07/29/14 2:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A GUIDE TO SOUNDING OUT THE NAMES OF HOUSTON’S ACRONYMED SPORTS STADIUMS NRG“Just make up a pronunciation. “TDECU” becomes “tuh-DECK-you,” and is the response to “why Grandma, what big fists you have!” Likewise, “NRG” becomes “nurg” (a kind of parasitic technician) and “BBVA” becomes “bubba-VUH” (Popul Vuh’s brother from the country).” [Memebag, commenting on Here’s That Downtown View the University of Houston Rotated Its Football Stadium For] Illustration: Lulu

07/28/14 12:30pm

View of Downtown from TDECU Stadium University of Houston

From the Twitter feed of Brandon Blue comes this across-the-endzone pic of the University of Houston’s newly minted TDECU Stadium, highlighting the view of downtown Houston the structure’s designers felt made it worth twisting the scrapped-and-rebuilt house of Cougar football. Robertson Stadium was aligned in a more even-handed northish-southish direction. TDECU Stadium (officially, ), constructed on the demolished remains of that structure, is rotated to match the eastish-westish orientation of neighboring Scott St. and Cullen Blvd., a decision that a few momentarily blinded quarterbacks or receivers may come to bemoan during afternoon games. But the benefit of those bleacher cutouts separating the upper decks of stadium’s endzones from the bleachers at the sides is clear: A gleaming glimpse of Houston’s homegrown mountain range opens up through the concrete canyon.

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Giving TDECU Credit
07/16/14 1:45pm

WHAT A FIRED IRONWORKER LEFT BEHIND AT KYLE FIELD Crimson Tide Flag Flying at Kyle Field, Texas A&M University, College Station, TexasThe ironworker fired from his job at the Kyle Field construction site after hoisting a University of Alabama flag from a crane at the Texas A&M football stadium has been subjected to an even greater indignity: After a photo of the stunt (at left) went viral, a crew of dead-serious investigators has been scouring the worker’s largely jokey Facebook page for possible additional anti-Aggie activity. And overnight, it appears, they hit paydirt. In context, Bobby Livingston’s offhand comment on his Facebook page from February 28th, under a self-portrait in an Alabama sweatshirt, that “This stadium will never be ready for this. Season,I’m putting iron in backwards and wrong holing everything!!”appears to be a joke among friends. It’s tougher to judge the circumstances surrounding a later Livingston post, however, because it appears now to have been deleted: According to College Station reporter Patrina Adger, he wrote on April 6, “If you ever attend a Texas A&M football game, don’t sit at the Northeast End Zone. It was raining today and I made two very ‘questionable’ welds.” The engineering firm in charge of inspections at Kyle Field, which is being expanded to seat more than a 100,000 fans, has issued a statement in response, assuring that all welds and connections have been tested, verified, and reviewed. [KBTX] Photo: Bobby Livingston

10/01/13 2:00pm

We don’t have all that many to spare, but it appears that there will soon be one fewer thin-shell paraboloid roof in Houston: HISD says it plans to demolish the 1958 James M. Delmar Fieldhouse (known now as the Delmar-Tusa Fieldhouse) and build a new facility in its place. According to a press release, the old stadium is “currently in poor condition with major roof leaks, flooding problems in the locker rooms and a sports medicine area that falls short of athletic league standards.”

The 5,000-seat swayback fieldhouse is located at 2020 Mangum Rd., just outside the Loop in Lazybrook and Timbergrove. Designed by Milton McGinty, who also had a hand in the Rice Stadium, the gym served as the home court in the ’60s for UH and the Elvin Hayes-powered Coogs. But it would seem that HISD wants to make haste and move on from that history: “The goal is to have the site ready for construction as soon as possible and complete the replacement facility by late 2016.”

Photo: Houston Daily Photo

09/23/13 11:05am

Here’s a plan that looks to plug in to Metro’s still-under-construction Southeast Line and redo about 8 blocks along Scott St. in the Third Ward between UH and TSU. Though the plan, drawn up by LAI Design Group and dubbed “University Place Redevelopment,” is provisional, it appears to have in mind something like what the rendering above shows: A reshaped streetscape on Scott St. that would combine apartments, restaurants, shops, offices, and community buildings.

The first phase appears to call for a strip center facing Scott between Holman and Reeves, with 289 1- and 2-bedroom apartments and a parking garage in the rear:

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07/17/13 12:00pm

There’s more going on at U of H than that new McDonald’s, apparently: A reader sends these photos of many of the construction projects scattered across the campus. This photo shows the pylons of the still-unnamed bowl with a Downtown view that’s replacing Robertson Stadium, demolished back in December. And in the background of the photo you can see the new Cougar Place apartments. KUHF’s Jack Williams reports that the new stadium is already about a third done; more photos after the jump illustrate the below-grade playing field.

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06/14/13 3:00pm

Houston builders Westin Homes seems to be expanding into the luxury replica spaceship playhouse market — at least this summer, anyway, hooking up with HomeAid Houston to imagineer something like what you see here and display it this June and July at Minute Maid Park. (That’s Astros mascot Orbit peeking out, as though a tad reluctant to deboard.) Of course, the playhouse isn’t just for show: It’ll be raffled off, with proceeds going to HomeAid, and it’ll eventually find its way to someone’s backyard, where the lucky winners will enjoy its

. . . space-themed amenities such as a cockpit complete with swivel seats, ‘rocket booster’-framed windows, a 32” wall mounted LCD TV, an XBox, an MP3 player, an iPod docking station with speakers and interior detailing . . . air conditioning and electricity.

It doesn’t appear that the playhouse will be suitable for actual space travel — but there’s always next year. (As Astros fans well know.) Most recently, the nonprofit HomeAid started construction on those 8 single-mothers’ duplexes on W. Bellfort in Meyerland on St. John’s Presbyterian property.

Rendering: Westin Homes via HomeAid Houston