Sportswriter: Tearing Down Astrodome Would Help Houston ‘Move On’

SPORTSWRITER: TEARING DOWN ASTRODOME WOULD HELP HOUSTON ‘MOVE ON’ Depending on which city gets the Super Bowl in 2016, Houston will be vying with either Miami or San Francisco to host the big game in 2017, reports Culturemap’s Chris Baldwin, and Houston’s in great shape to put together an attractive proposal — but there’s still one thing standing in the way: “When the Astrodome opened in 1965, it deserved its Eighth Wonder of the World moniker. It screamed innovation. Now, it screams . . . embarrassment,” Baldwin writes: “There have been more than enough multi-million studies. There is no need to put off a decision yet again. Sometimes, the simplest choice, the most obvious choice, is the best one. Put together a demolition crew. . . . This isn’t Fenway Park. It’s not Wrigley Field. It’s not that old Yankee Stadium that went through all those remodels. It’s a relic that long ago lost its last bit of charm.” And if you want to save the “rotting giant,” Baldwin suggests, you’re “showing as much sense as someone featured on Hoarders.” [Culturemap; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

33 Comment

  • Anyone who would swap the Dome for another Superbowl is hard to take seriously as chronicler of Houston culture.

  • WRONG! Save the Astrodome. It’s a beautiful building and should be preserved for its historic significance.

    If you think the dome should be saved, join our movement. Already we are 1600+ strong in less than three days of online mobilizing. Let’s Save the City and Save the Dome!

  • “And then you get to the hulking ghost in the center what should be a high-tech, hip sports and retail corridor. It doesn’t matter how gigantic Reliant Stadium’s new video scoreboards are . . . they can’t hide the dump of the Astrodome.”
    The area next to Reliant should be a high-tech what? The area surrounding Reliant is much more of a dump than the Dome, which I think is architecturally beautiful. If they really want to show that Houston is full of entrepreneurial spirit and creativity then hire someone who actually has those qualities figure out something useful to do with it.

  • Hear hear! Tear the thing down and add some green space or prime parking.. I’ve seen many an Astros game here but its time has come and gone.. Raze and quit paying for the mediocre upkeep!

  • If we tear down the Astrodome, we won’t be able to turn it into an indoor ski mountain, and Houston will have failed twice.

  • The Astrodome isn’t some piece of useless garbage that came off an assembly line like the crap sitting on hoarders shelves. What an offensive comment! The Astrodome is a ONE OF A KIND, UNIQUE, IRREPLACEABLE, RARE piece of Houston history. And face it, history is not something Houston has an abundance of. The Astrodome MUST be preserved AT ANY COST! Quit being so cheap for once! Somethings can not be measured in dollars. If the Astrodome was the second indoor mega stadium ever built, or if it had never brought Houston world wide attention that nothing before or since ever did, then maybe I could be on board with demolition. But this is as special to Houston as the Alamo is to San Antonio. The Astrodome is as special to Houston as the Statue of Liberty is to New York. It is as special as anything sitting in the Smithsonian. And it is still here. Tossing the Astrodome in the garbage would be the same as tossing the Wright Brothers airplane in the garbage. Sell it. Mothball it. Sacrifice a Superbowl or two for it. Whatever. Save it for another generation who is smart enough to find a purpose for it.

  • Good grief. NO ONE wants to invest their money in the money pit. Was it cool in the 1960s ? Sure. Was it a good venue to see a sports game ? Hardly. Is it an architecural icon ? Infinately less than the Shamrock or Milam hotel, both of which are history.

    All the blustering and Facebook groups are fine, but no one is willing to put up the cash to do ANYTHING with this hulk, and it’s becoming a bigger piece of shit as long as it sits there empty.

  • He actually gets paid to write? Wow.

  • Turn it into a parking garage/car wash/quick lube.

  • Every great building goes through a period when it is out of style and seems useless. Penn Station was torn down in the 60’s because people thought, “Who wants an old train station? We’re in the modern age!” Take a look at photos of it and tell me if you think it would be useless today. Grand Central was barely saved by a Supreme Court decision.

    In Houston, we still kind of have a 60’s-70’s mentality. What’s great is what’s new. What’s old is worthless because it’s old. “Time to move on.” Move on to what? A city with no great monuments of its past? Parking???

  • The Astrodome is our Alamo? Statue of Liberty? I saw someone equate it as our Eifel Tower yesterday. Holy hyperbole Batman, lets get a grip folks. I was all for finding a real, financially viable use for the Astrodome. It has potential all over it, but due to the ridiculous roadblocks put up by both the Rodeo and the Sports Authority, nothing has happened, and it’s likely nothing will. That being the case, isn’t it time to put it out of its misery? No one in their right mind will want to pony up both the financial investment to get the building back into usable shape while simultaneously dealing with the silliness both the Rodeo and the Sports Authority will inevitably cause. Let it go.

  • Here we go again.

  • I see no value in keeping the Astrodome unless something can be done with it. Preserving it as a monument would be a ‘monumental’ waste of my money. Figure something out or tear it down. Either way, quit throwing good money (for maintenance of an unsafe building) after bad (the bond payments) and let’s move on.

  • Actually the Astrodome is quite similar to something in an episode of Hoarders. It has sat there for 11 years without a permanent tenant. No private company can come up with financing to do anything with it, the public will not vote for tax increases to anything with it either. Never mind the fact that it would be an incredible waste of money to try and re-purpose it for something that doesn’t retain the original arena configuration. We already have enough arena style venues as it is. Tear it down.

  • The strategy of running time off the clock is working so far. As everyday that goes by we hear more and more calls for it’s demo.

    Seems like the county and the rodeo are doing everything possible to not let a vote go forward on what to do with the dome. Anybody else reading that between the lines?

  • Lets all get one thing clear. Chris Baldwin is not a sports writer and Culturemap is not a source of news.

  • The only reason Fenway is “anything” is because it is old. Every other city tore down their old, wooden ballparks so now it’s unique. But, guess what? We built the WORLD’S first indoor multi-purpose stadium. The exterior shell should be saved. The only thing that will happen if we tear it down is more surface parking and that simply isn’t a good enough reason.

  • I am not a Houstonian by birth, nor have I every stepped foot inside the Astrodome. Why you ask? Well let’s be honest, it’s a concrete jungle that is rotting from the inside out. As an individual who would like to make my home Houston and raise children in Houston, I would like to see more innovations that encompass an urban environment. You all call it ‘historical and monumental’… Where can I sign up for a tour? Oh yea, you can’t. When can I go see a concert there? Oh that’s right, no one uses it anymore. Just like that greatest game ever played from those varsity years in high school, it is time to move on.

  • I still think tearing down Astorworld was a mistake… ANYWAY, the Astrodome had a great opportunity to serve the public, again… this time as the new museum of modern art… like the one that MFAH is building… think about all the art that would not fit elsewhere in the world that could only come to Houston!!

  • Bill – why do you think Reliant Park needs more green space or parking??? In case you didn’t know, reliant has one of the largest engineered grass-porous paving in the WORLD (green space). There is absolutely no need to tear down the dome for more green space and parking. In turn you get lower temps, better stormwater management, and another number of benefits from EXISTING green space on the site. See linked article.

  • No one has ever heard of Chris Baldwin.

  • Tear down the most internationally recognizable, iconic structure ever to be built in Houston? HELL NO! Save at ANY cost – or regret it FOREVER! We can alway get more money, we will never get another ASTRODOME.

  • Tearing down the “embrassment”, or the beloved Dome, isn’t going to improve Houston’s chances of getting another Super Bowl. Thus, I don’t know why the author begins his rant with this weak correlation.

    It’s obvious the author is like “MedCenter Resident”, one who doesn’t appreciate the historical significance of the Astrodome and/ or have any emotional ties with it.

    The handcuffs and restrictions placed by the Texans and the Rodeo Clowns definitely hamper the efforts to redevelop the Dome. I bet they’re drooling over the idea of acres of new parking in which to charge $20 or more for.

  • If you want to save the dome, please join the team of world class volunteer engineers, architects, financial experts, real estate professionals, retail leasing experts, artists, scientists, historians, educators and museum builders who are working on the best plan for the eighth wonder. We are ASTRODOME*TOMORROW. We have the plan that will exceed the needs of the anchor tenants including HLSR, the Texans and OTC while creating a new 90-acre park and a tourist attraction the likes of which exists nowhere else on the planet. Yes, it will take a lot of money, but the tangible and intangible (community) ROI will be immense over the long term.

    Those calling for the Astrodome’s demolition–and doing a lot of offensive name-calling in the process–are doing so out of ignorance. Please don’t forget that those people are a small minority. Stay tuned for news of our first improvement to the dome: we are going to raise private funds to donate a power washing of the exterior. Check out the web site and the facebook page! Like, Comment, Share!

  • Keep it for an indoor ski mountain as NORD said.. If it is torn down..I bet the roof can be chopped up in squares and sold off as souvenirs

  • The Astrodome could be our indoor track and field facility for the Olympics. Think about it. Reliant doesn’t have the required space to fit an Olympic sized track, Rice Stadium doesn’t either or BBVA Compass Stadium for that matter. The new Rob at UH won’t have space for a track. And for the closing ceremonies, host them at Reliant Stadium and blow up the Astrodome in front of the millions of people watching around the world!!!!

  • RIGHT! Tear it down and get it over with. Put a memorial astrodome replica in it’s place as part of a plaza. The building will never come to any more good at this point.

  • Oh brother, what a boring post as well as the comment of the day. To compare it to the Statue of Liberty or anything in the Smithsonian is ludicrous. People go to NYC to visit the Statue of Liberty and walk INSIDE it. Tell me, when was the last time people were allowed to take a tour of the Astrodome or specifically came to Houston to see it? I have never met a person that fits either category. I’m OK with keeping it; I just can’t understand how it’s been sitting rotting for more than a decade. Millions of dollars have been wasted on studies. Tear it down or convert it into something. I’m sick of all the talk about doing something without any action ever being done.

  • My vote would be to retain the structure in a symbolic fashion, but allow it to be repurposed for new use. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I think that it would be marvelous if it could be reduced back the steel skeleton and repurposed as a park or an amphitheater. The original construction photos of that stage are stunning. Retaining the core of the old to do something new and innovative would make this a symbol of the future of Houston.


  • Walking around the dome last weekend while I was enjoying the livestock show and midway, it occurred to me that the dome could be gutted to make way for a really, really nice amphitheater – open air with the original roof preserved to keep out the rain. This concert venue would be a premium, central venue for concerts during the summer to rival The Woodlands Pavilion but also serve as a second stage and additional revenue opportunity for the rodeo – a venue for smaller acts to play during rodeo times. The Texans could use this for tailgate concert activities to enhance the tailgate experience by offering concerts on gameday before or after the game. Configuring the dome this way would preserve the structure according to its original, intended use and make it a destination again.