Dome Redo: Doomed from the Opening Pitch

Astros Vs. Expos at the Astrodome, 1992

More high comedy surrounding the Astrodome: Just what is Texans owner Bob McNair’s problem with the proposal to redevelop the Astrodome into a hotel? It’s . . . the hotel!

“A hotel would be in direct conflict with our games and when the rodeo is going on. You can’t tell guests they can’t come to the hotel on Sundays. That wouldn’t be fair to them. It wouldn’t be fair to our fans.

“We’re trying to be open-minded about this. We’re willing to look at anything that doesn’t conflict with our events.”

Now, you’re probably asking yourself: Haven’t the Texans known that the Astrodome Redevelopment Corporation was wanting to turn the Dome into a hotel now for about . . . what, three years? Wouldn’t the two groups maybe have wanted to chat with each other at some point during that period?

Silly you! You’re presuming that the Texans and the Rodeo and the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation — Reliant Park’s landlords — actually have some intention or incentive to come up with a workable plan to redevelop the Astrodome. And you’re forgetting that turning the Dome into a hotel was an idea pushed early on by . . . the HCSCC’s chairman, Mike Surface! Remember that space-theme amusement-park concept that was so brilliant that the group that proposed it won the “competition” the HCSCC set up four years ago — even over other developer groups that had more experience and deeper pockets? That group was the Astrodome Redevelopment Corporation.

A year later the ARC scrapped its own space-park concept in favor of the convention-hotel complex pushed by the HCSCC. With the Sports and Convention Corporation’s backing, the company worked in secret for three more years to refine the proposal.

Good thing the HCSCC didn’t solicit any alternate proposals during that time. Just think of the confusion that would have caused!

Photo of Astrodome from August 28, 1992: Flickr user j4e0f0f