New Life — or Death — for the Astrodome, Now at a Discount

NEW LIFE — OR DEATH — FOR THE ASTRODOME, NOW AT A DISCOUNT Notable in the options presented in today’s report from the latest group of consultants to study the future of the Astrodome: lower prices. The cost estimate for demolishing the vacant sports stadium has been marked down to $68 million from the $128 million cited in a 2010 study (possibly in part because the new figure doesn’t include retiring the debt the county still owes on the building). And turning the Astrodome into a multipurpose sports and exhibition facility (the top recommendation from the consultants at Dallas’s Convention Sports and Leisure) is now predicted to cost just $270 million, down from the $324-to-$374-million range cited in the same 2-year-old report. But the consultants also suggested spending an additional $385 million to replace Reliant Arena; they’d also like to get a private developer to build a hotel on the grounds of Reliant Park. [Click2Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia

20 Comment

  • Tear it down.

  • The fact that the authors of this report get paid one thin dime to write it is a travesty. What a joke. What a waste.

    The last thing this city needs is more convention center space and another convention hotel at Reliant Park. Last time I checked the GRB is a vastly underused facility. One of the primary reasons for its under use is the scarcity of hotel rooms in the immediate vicinity. The City is already actively pursuing developers to build a new hotel or two adjacent to the GRB. We don’t need another convention center in a far flung location with a single hotel next to it.

    I guess if they are paying you to write a report, you have to right something, but come on. A bunch of high schoolers could have done a better jab than this as a class project.

  • There is no use for the Dome and I don’t think Houstonians are as “attached” to it as some in the media say. It is brutally ugly 1960s’s-era architecture and pieces are literally falling off. It will be demolished soon and the crater will be turned into a nicely-landscaped detention pond/park. Now the Astroarena/Reliant Arena, THAT needs to be redone. It does have a use and it’s butt-ugly.

  • The only good use of that facility would be to keep the shell and build one massive parking garage in side it. Then the surrounding parking lot. This help eliminate the far flung parking lots to open that land for new development.

    A parking garage there could build skybridges to Reliant Stadium and Center.

  • I’m not attached to the Dome and I don’t know that many people are. When I read this report, like other commentators, I’m thinking…..thats alot of money for “another venue”. My impression is that some of the really cool ideas have been suppressed by the Rodeo, which disgusts me. I think alot of money might be well spent if you are building a unique facility…….something truly different that would make me load up my family and go there just for that experience………but I don’t want to spend alot of money just to build “another venue”…..who’s real purpose is to somehow “save the dome”.

  • Stop the Madness and turn it into Mini-Storage. Pitch idea to a REIT, gut it and sell the pieces for whatever you can get and then start building cages in phases to get sach flowing so it doesnt cost so much upfront. phase one storing autos, boats, RV’s on the floor. second phase build cages in the old seating areas in lower levels and work your way up. I bet you can get 5000 to 6000 units built. Maybe county could give it away or sell for small sum as their “contribution”

  • cash flowing

  • I totally agree that remaking the dome into another convention/meeting facility is just a bad idea. However, that’s the one I expect to Sports Authority to pick. Houston is hardly alone in having a govenrment think that they need more exhibit and convention space. And when it gets built, it just sits there. Look at the Pyramid in Memphis. Within 15 years of building it, it was closed down. Bernard is correct, without multiple hotels within a mile of a facility, it becomes a wasteland. Dallas finally helped fund a hotel next to their downtown convention center last year because nobody wanted to hold a meeting there and bus or drive in from 3 miles away. San Antonio outpaces every other Texas city in meetings because there are multiple hotels around the convention center, and things for the attendees ( restaurants and bars) to do in the evening

  • Demolition is probably the only option. A nice open grass space would be nice in that area given the vast tracts of unbroken concrete that exists in that part of town.

  • Just tear it down

  • i would like to see it turned into a port for cruise ships.

  • I think it would be cool to have gladiator style fighting in there. Remove all of the glass from the top, remove everything except for the structure and the seats. Attach torches to the walls like a dungeon. Have prisoners fight for our enjoyment while we eat giant glistening turkey legs. It could be like Medeival Times, but a million times bigger and better!

  • Zero-grav war simulator. Like the battle room in “Ender’s Game”. Few physics issues to work out, but we’re already spending all that money on consultants. Get some DARPA folks in a room and work it out.

  • +1 for a port for cruise ships.

  • My new Astrodome idea of the day: World’s Largest Swimming Pool, with a shade making cover to boot.

    1. There’s already a giant hole in the ground.

    2. The roof is already in place.

    3. Take out the seating.

    4. Peel back most of the walls just leaving the structure in place to hold up the roof.

    5. Build a nice park around the pool for hanging out.

    6. Profit.

    Now we have real amenity that can be enjoyed by the public. And no conflicts with Rodeo or Texans, just close the park when those events are using Reliant Park.

    Houston’s Reputation: HOT!!! With this we’ll be know for having the best way to beat the heat.

    No more driving to Galveston for muddy, salty seawater and a sun burn.

    You can even rent it out to business during the week. We already have offshore companies paying to use NASA’s giant pool down in Clear Lake. Keep that stuff in town.

  • @markd.. and @htownproud We could combine our ideas and turn it into a Mini Storage for cruise ships and repair center for jet engines, or anthing we can find to work on. So many good ideas!!

  • I don’t understand why we wouldn’t turn the Dome itself into a hotel with an indoor “outdoor” atmosphere like the Gaylord Opryland Hotel:

    I know that would be an artificial environment, but so are Disneyland and the Riverwalk. You could even have a little river flowing through it and around the whole Reliant area. There would be restaurants, clubs, and shops inside it to keep it busy all year long. Is it really so different from building another Galleria?

  • At least do the plaza.

    Count me as one supporter of the Dome.

    I agree that another Convention center is far-fetched.

    I wanted a Space Shuttle (GRRRRRR…) inside which would make the Planetarium idea a whole lot more feasible. (maybe steal the Discovery mock-up from JSC?…)

    Also, it is relevant that we have a real shot at the 2017 Super Bowl; a redevelopment could help here.

    I know I’m in the minority. Houston no longer thinks big.

  • I’m one of those old-timey native Houstonians who love the old Astrodome. Yes, it’s ugly, it’s always been ugly. It was the 1960’s geez. I would be heartbroken to see another part of the old Houston die.

    That said, if they can’t come up with something absolutely fabulous to do with it. I mean world-class, one of a kind, only thing in the country, people will come from all over the region type thing. If they can’t do that then it’s probably better to just tear it down.

  • Just remember the minute after it’s torn down, somebody will come up with a brilliant idea, that would not cost that much, would put Houston on the map, and would bring billions to the city.

    The people yelling the loudest now to “tear it down” will be the people who will be talking about how Houston missed another opportunity.

    One more thing. I have to say again. There is nothing wrong with the Astrodome a Space Shuttle would not have cured. An entire venue could have been built around it. The loss of the shuttle to New York, (New friggin York!) is the kind of slaps that are starting to knock Houston down.