Under Plan, Astrodome Would Slim Down Exterior, Shorten Up and Fatten Inside

UNDER PLAN, ASTRODOME WOULD SLIM DOWN EXTERIOR, SHORTEN UP AND FATTEN INSIDE No, the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation’s estimated $194 million plan to convert the Astrodome into a convention center doesn’t call for the roof to be lowered. Though it does call for the installation of scoreboard-sized glass facing each of the cardinal directions, the removal of ramps and those stair silos, and the introduction of roving marquee spotlights (or so this rendering suggests), it appears that the proposal chosen above all other proposals leaves the exterior mostly alone. Inside the iconic stadium, though, it should be a whole new ballgame: About 60,000 seats will be removed and the sunken¬†floor filled in and raised to be level with the ground, creating a wider space that will also feel flatter, since the ceiling would be 175 ft. high, about 33 ft. lower than it is now. You can read and download the plan in full here. [Scribd via Preservation Houston; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: HCSCC

20 Comment

  • If Reliant Park really needs additional space, as the presentation states, then do it. Think of the gun shows: now they can have artillery.

  • if they need additional space then they should do it professionally and design a purpose-built building with input from the existing and future convention users on what space requirements they would require and could actually make the best use of.

  • I like the plan. Sports Authority knows the plan fails on the ballot if the money is too much, scales back their plan from a few year ago. Now you have the structure still in tact and used for a multitude of events. There are alot of narrow minded persons on here. The space will be completely versatile and have the ability to host events that cannot be hosted at GRB.

  • They forgot the bullet point “Lines the pockets of HCSCC members, commissioners court, and Ed Emmit.”
    Seriously though, what a joke, we were presented with 3 options along these lines 3 years ago and nothing ever came of them. We were told one of the 3 could make it on the ballot as early as November 2010, again, didn’t happen. My question would be if voters don’t approve this, then what? Are we left with the building sitting there and then 10 more years of “what to do with the Astrodome studies”. Tear the freaking thing down like every other city does with their old, dilapitated sports arenas.

  • Show me a return on investment, else do whatever’s cheapest, which looks to be tearing it down.

  • It looks to me like Houston may be making a long term decision here to try to bid on a summer Olympics. Looking at the variety of different uses the plan touts I wouldn’t doubt it. Shame so many cynics just want to tear it down due to lack of vision and imagination.

  • Love the slide that implies Grand Prix races could be held….

  • The proposal needs to include a Metrorail station at the Astrodome’s existing floor level, creating a “Central Station” below the proposed floor level. This truely would make the Dome a front door for Reliant Stadium events and improve traffic flow in and out of Reliant. Preservation, transformation and functional use of space all under one roof.

  • I’ve gotta say, after actually viewing the slideshow on Scribd, it seems to be a good way to move forward. I’d love to see how those seating arrangements will be stowed away (below grade perhaps?). They do include that this plan preserves the Dome for “future development opportunities.” Not a bad way to kick the can down the road if you ask me. Eliminating the ramps, substation, power lines, and ticket buildings will truly be rather nice. Two big question marks for me are the “green space” and “street-scape” they will create. Will there be retail/restaurant opportunities? Will there be a park, or just park like amenities? Additionally, will this spell the end for Reliant Arena?

  • Someone mentioned the lack of hotel space in the immediate area surrounding Reliant Park. Wouldn’t it be great if the county would allow hotel development on Reliant Park land through some sort of agreement that would require the creation of X-times the number of parking spaces it eliminates? High-rise hotels could line Fannin along the light-rail. More hotel rooms. More tax money to the county. More parking for visitors. More light-rail usage by visitors. More land opened up to create an incredible park as Astrodome Tomorrow envisioned.

  • Bobby, I’d leave the rail right where it is. Create a City Walk space from the light rail to the Dome. Shopping, night life, restaurants, movies, etc. Sure it’s touristy, but most events at Reliant are visited by tourists.

  • Making it into a convention space might make the Rodeo group’s investment in half of the former Astroworld land appreciate nicely.

  • I like this plan–let’s finally do something with the dome–even New Yorkers think we’re philistine’s for wanting to destroy this engineering marval–I’m pleased the county commissioners have seen reason and have quit the charade

  • Obviously “MC” either isn’t from Houston or grew up in a cave and never experienced the Astrodome–this building is a Houston icon, it’s not Three Rivers or The Kingdome and it certainly doesn’t deserve its fate–Im thankful that you’re not on the commissioners court–wiser, measured, elected officials will decide the fate of a building synonomous with Houston–it’s importance to Houston is immeasurable–the thought of the grande old lady being torn down like some warehouse for more parking for the greedy Texans is revolting

  • If this has to go up for public vote, it ain’t happening.

  • Personally, I think true vision is to tear the sucker down. Reliant Park is heavy with cement. Green space provides a focul point for events, gatherings of all sorts. Not tearing it down is part of our cultural resistance to death. The Dome was an amazing place. Let it go in dignity. Build a small museum on site as a rememberance.

  • Not from Texas, lived here 10+ years, but I don’t understand the boner you folks have for the Astrodome.

  • @ etherist: I’m not a huge fan of the plan that’s proposed, however the cost of maintaining it in mothballs is insignificant as compared to even the most ludicrously low figures that have been suggested by the Texans and the Rodeo. It is not in the public interest to spend the money to tear it down, even if nothing is done with it.

    Furthermore, the political process is so thoroughly manipulative and even coercive toward interested parties that I would hope that higher powers would investigate the matter and impose civil or criminal penalties.

    Whether you love history or architecture or not, you should still be outraged because you are a taxpayer.

  • (Warning: This is pure speculation) I have had a theory about the Dome and the last bullet point in their presentation “Preserves the dome for future development opportunities” further encourages me. I think the ultimate end game for the Dome is going to be one of the world’s largest casinos. I think the County knows it’s only a matter of time, and this plan looks like it will prep it for that. All they’ll need to do one day is contract out with an operator to bring the games in. In the meantime, we’ll use it for more events and maybe trying to land an Olympics.

  • What happened to all the ideas for buffing up East Down to better define Houston as a convention hub… I recall a Texas Shaped pool at one hotel.