What’s the Dynamo Stadium Westpark Option?

Houston Dynamo fan and attorney Eric Nordstrom — who’s also a supporter of a new East Downtown stadium for the soccer team — writes in with a question:

I appeared at Commissioners’ Court this morning on behalf of the Dynamo Supporters’ Alliance to speak in support of county participation in TIRZ 15, which is the last hurdle to clear before the Houston Dynamo can begin construction of their stadium at the proposed downtown location. As you know, this deal has been held up for quite some time as it works its way through the political process. The Dynamo Supporters’ Alliance is dedicated to keeping this issue on the front-burner with our elected officials, especially now that the smoke has cleared from the municipal elections. It is important to us to get the message out about this project for it truly represents a remarkable commitment by the team to expend $60,000,000 of its own capital . . . Opponents often ask why, if the Dynamo want a stadium, don’t they pay for it themselves. The Supporters’ Alliance is dedicated to communicating the message that that is precisely what the Club is trying to do. If the City and County will fix the roads, we’ll build the house.

However, after my three minutes were up, Commissioner Radack asked if I was aware of a project currently under development by Midway Companies to construct a multi-use facility in Precinct 3 with 100% private financing, “a mile from the Galleria” near Westpark. To be honest, I was not aware of such a project, and though our first choice is the downtown location, I am intrigued by the location Commissioner Radack suggests. I’m wondering if any of your readers out there can fill in the gaps.

Rendering of proposed new Dynamo Stadium at Texas and Dowling, East Downtown: ICON Venue Group

19 Comment

  • If a private facility is being constructed that could fit the needs of the Dynamo, I think they should go for it! The club will save money. It doesn’t have to be in downtown to be a good venue!

  • P.S. The team in Dallas plays up in Frisco!

  • This just came up on the local news: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=7240711&rss=rss-ktrk-article-7240711

    Looks like the vacant lot east of the Sam’s Club off of Westpark.

    This means only one thing: Bubba’s Buffalo Burgers before games!

  • The City of Houston is bankrupt, and this character wants the tax payers to foot the bill for yet another stadium?

    If building a new stadium is such a good deal, they need to pay for it themselves (and they can reap all the rewards). We have enough issues with being able to fund the police department, public works (potholes anyone?), and a myriad of other issues in an economy of diminished tax revenues, and having a new stadium is not even close to being a priority.

  • The location on Westpark is probably more viable for a variety of reasons but didn’t the city buy the land east of downtown already for the stadium in a “sweetheart deal” from former councilmember Louis Macey?

    As for the city being bankrupt, our controller said the city was not bankrupt. Of course she’s the new mayor. We haven’t heard from her lately. Or from the new controller. We haven’t really heard from anyone at City Hall lately. No news is good news?

  • We may not be bankrupt yet, but we’re on the brink.

    This is from the Chronicle (Dec 5th):
    “Controller Annise Parker, who’s also a mayoral candidate, projects spending for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, will outpace revenue by almost $146 million, while the city’s finance department estimates the gap is closer to $131 million, according to last month’s finance report.
    The good news: Despite a recent flurry of alarmist e-mails and Internet posts, Houston isn’t bankrupt or in danger of not paying its bills. The bad news: Rarely has solvency looked so ugly”.

    These are probably conservative estimates (they always are).

    Full article here:



  • Neurobit, you said they should pay for it themselves. Just like the Astros, Texans, and Rockets did, right? That’s another discussion for another time.

    What the Dynamo want is to build their stadium with their money. They want the city and county help out with the TIRZ funds. The TIRZ funds are the INCREASED property taxes, the taxes that are created by the stadium being built. For example, the $500,000 empty warehoust building across the street becomes a $5,000,000 loft condo building. The city and county KEEP the taxes they were getting on the $500,000 and the Dynamo and city get the increased taxes on the $4,500,000 to use to repay the loan and fix streets in the area.

    The city and county are out no tax money. They are still getting what they are getting today with nothing on the property.

  • After looking at both locations I like the westpark option better. And when the mayor, city council members, county judge, and county commissioners come asking for tickets to the MLS championship game the new stadium will bring, refer them to the season ticket office.

  • Clearly, Neurobit was not listening to the dude’s story.

    I’m intrigued by this Westpark thing – that’s at least closer to the heart of town than the other options that had been bandied about. I will miss tailgating in the Robertson Stadium parking lot, though.

  • They way a TIRZ works is it does not actually cost the County or City anything. What it does is take an area, set a base tax value (undeveloped), which the County still collects over the time period of the TIRZ, and then what the increase in tax value (and taxes) that the developer creates is used to repay the developer for the costs of projects such as roads. So the County would continue to collect the same taxes they have been (and will continue to collect since if there is no stadium it is not likely that the area would be developed into anything else anytime soon) and actually ends up ahead through jobs (paid for through private money and not the government stimulus money printer)and sales taxes in the area.

    As for another facility, I have not heard of it and it would be up to the Dynamo to see if that deal makes good business sense for them or not.

  • I command Midway for thinking outside the box and I am all for using private vs. public money in this venture, however, I do not see how any-mixed use development let alone a stadium would work there. The site has terrible access and there is no easy way to get to it from 610 or heading south on 59. There is no way S.Rice could handle that much traffic. I think its more of “How can we get creative here?” since a mixed-use concept IMO will probably not work.

  • It would have excellent light rail access, a fact noted by Brad Freels of Midway. And Midway did get creative with CityCentre, which has its own access issues. Imagine Houstonians riding light rail to watch soccer. What will the world come to next?

  • I understand the concept, but I am still not convinced.

    Paul – Just to be clear, I’ve never been in favor of tax payers footing the bill for the Rockets, Texans, and Astros stadiums either.

    With TIRZ, we’re assuming that property values are perpetually going to go up, but that’s not a good assumption in this current economic crisis.
    If this is the case and there is not enough revenue, who is going to pay the difference?

  • Glad to see they are planning on using their own (or most of) their own funds for this. I am a soccer fan and have been to many Dynamo and other games, but can’t wrap my mind around why they want their own stadium. The partnership with UH is perfect, great for tailgating, parking isn’t bad, and it’s affordable! Do they think a new stadium will magically be full for home games? That certainly isn’t the case with the current situation, there were tons of seats open during the playoffs, except the last game.

  • The reason the dynamo want a stadium is to make money. What the Dynamo are doing now is bring a decent crowd, but it has no strong ties to mass transit and they do not control the gates like they would in their own personal stadium. They pay rent and can’t make money.
    Other MLS sides who own the stadium make money not only from game attendance, but also events which occur at the stadium. The reason FC Dallas is in the black, despite poor management and team is because they make money renting out PHP.

  • Neurobit: If the tax value increment is not enough to directly reimburse the developer or to support bonds to reimburse the developer, then they simply don’t get all of their investment back. Same as with MUD’s, the value has to be there to support the reimbursement. You have to perform to get reimbursed.

  • To add to MikeH,

    Generally a MUD and TIRZ can’t establish itself unless they have financial studies showing that it can be self sustaining. As long as they can pay off their debts, they can continue to sell bonds.

  • “The city and county are out no tax money. They are still getting what they are getting today with nothing on the property.”

    With a TIRZ, the municipality is still out of tax money that would be paid to the city on future elevated appraised real estate values. Almost all real estate goes up in value over time. This BS of saying the city is out no money is for the birds. A TIRZ can be a useful tool for development, but I’m no fan of involving city funds, which this is, in funding sports teams, whether it be soccer, football, baseball or whatever.

  • CK,

    Me and you disagreed about this before. The TIRZ (if managed competently) will reinvest the money in infrastructure and public areas for the zone. Midtown has been repairing streets and street scapes alot. The Upper Kirby TIRZ has put a lot of money into rebuilding Kirby. The final product is pretty good especially when the trees grow in without the power lines messing them up.