Hotel Astrodome: Rides and Hot Air


Hidden in today’s Chronicle update on the Dome’s status are a few more exciting details about the Astrodome Redevelopment Corporation’s still-mysterious plans to remake the former home of the Astros and Oilers into a convention hotel. It’s gonna be like a county fair!

Company CEO John Clanton casually mentions that the new hotel will have seven restaurants and an amusement park, possibly including a ride to “near the top of the Dome,” plus tethered hot-air balloons, a batting cage, and gondolas.

It’s unclear whether Clanton is referring to Venetian-style gondolas for navigating all the new waterways inside, or the kind you see on ski slopes, for crossing the ballfield central fairgrounds. More details on the Astrodome Redevelopment Corp. website!

Oh . . . that’s right. There isn’t one.

After the jump, the real reason County Judge Ed Emmett doesn’t want to demolish the Dome.


Last week, Chron writer Bill Murphy reported that Judge Emmett had cited a poll that said that 84 percent of county residents did not want to demolish the Astrodome. Today’s article, though, tells it differently. It’s the Republicans!

In a September poll of 400 county residents likely to vote in the March Republican primary, 67 percent said they favored the county’s participating in a public-private partnership to redevelop the Dome.

Of those polled, 16 percent favored razing the Dome, while 17 percent were undecided.

Unless the numbers for likely republican voters and everyone else are identical, it sure sounds like last week’s report simply left out that little party-affiliation bit. True leadership, of course, does not mean simply following the polls:

While speaking at a Bay Area Chamber of Commerce meeting this week, [Judge Emmett] asked how many people favored razing the Dome.

“Only four people out of 100 raised their hands, and there were people who audibly hissed them,” Emmett said. “Then I asked, ‘Who wants to save the Dome?’ About everybody else raised their hands.”

Gondola photos: Flickr users Terry Flick (Venice) and Andre Kreitlein (Hong Kong)