Report suggests turning Astrodome into $242 million multiuse facility

The Urban Land Institute has recommended the 50-year-old Astrodome be turned into a multiuse park.

The Urban Land Institute has recommended the 50-year-old Astrodome be turned into a multiuse park.

An Urban Land Institute advisory panel report has recommended Harris County turn the 50-year-old Astrodome into a massive indoor, multiuse park that could cost more than $242 million to construct.


The report, which was prepared by land-use experts during a five-day panel held Dec. 15-19, details a variety of improvements that could be made to the Astrodome. Suggestions include the creation of a new ground-floor park and event space inside the dome and 1,500 new parking spaces on the first two floors as well as the creation of additional event space and exhibition space within the structure.


Vacant since 2008 the Astrodome’s redesign could reuse the floors for a variety of programmable space, including expanding the game-day experience for the Houston Texans and providing new space for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the report states.


“It’s gratifying to me to see that even a large group of experts from all across the nation recognized the Astrodome as the unique and beloved asset that it is,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said.


Commissioners Court unanimously approved a motion March 31 to receive the report and return it to the corporation, which will come back to the court with an implementation plan. That plan will include possible funding avenues for the project.


Harris County Communications Director Joe Stinebaker said the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation would review the recommendations and come back to the Commissioners Court with a plan.




“It’s gratifying to me to see that even a large group of experts from all across the nation recognized the Astrodome as the unique and beloved asset that it is.”
- Harris County Judge Ed Emmett



“That  timetable has not been established,” HCSCC Executive Director Kevin Hoffman said. “We’d like to get it reviewed and back to the county as soon as possible. It’s a very tedious process, and we want to be thorough.”


In addition to a review of the plan itself, the HCSCC will consider financing options for the Astrodome plan, which could include historical tax credits, a tax increment reinvestment zone, philanthropy and private investments, Stinebaker said. The cost for this plan is still unknown but the ULI report suggests it could cost more than $242.4 million.


“If there were a significant investment from the county, it would almost certainly be put to a bond issue,” Stinebaker said.


Hoffman could not comment on any potential funding partners for the project, but said the HCSCC is being thorough with its planning.


“We’re scrubbing the numbers,” he said. “We’re looking at the dollar amounts to make sure they’re as
accurate as possible.


The ULI report and proposal is the latest initiative to determine how to proceed with the aging and vacant Astrodome. In 2013 Harris County voters turned down a $217 million proposal to renovated the Astrodome into a facility site for festivals, community events, sporting events and conferences.

By Matt Stephens
Matt Stephens joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2012. A Tomball native and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Matt joined as a reporter for The Woodlands team before being promoted to help launch the Spring | Klein edition in spring of 2014 and later to North Houston managing editor in late 2015. He has served as managing editor to the Phoenix and Nashville papers since August 2020.


MOST RECENT

A new brewery will soon be opening on Cypress Rosehill Road at the former location of The Shack Burger Resort. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Misfit Outpost by Fortress BeerWorks coming soon to The Shack in Cypress

The owners of Fortress BeerWorks and Misfit BeerWorks are partnering on a new craft beer venture. The 5-acre site will be family-friendly, dog-friendly and host live music on the weekends.

As variants are isolated and identified, Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass believes the vaccines available can handle identified variants (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'The vaccines we have are effective against all the variants out there': Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass discusses variants, vaccinations

As Houston Methodist identified its first case of the lambda variant July 19, Dr. Glass believes vaccines can handle known variants.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is pleading with residents to be more vigilant, asking all residents to start wearing masks again in indoor settings and asking those who are vaccinated to urge their friends who are not to get the shot. (Screenshot Courtesy Facebook)
Harris County raises coronavirus threat level as Hidalgo asks all residents to mask up indoors

Although those who are vaccinated are very unlikely to end up in the hospital, officials said wearing masks in certain situations could help reduce transmissions to the more susceptible unvaccinated.

Harris County Emergency Services District 11 commissioners received updates on the status of its upcoming ambulances services at a July 22 board meeting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 commissioners discuss upcoming ambulance service

The district will take over providing emergency medical services across more than 177 square miles of north Harris County, currently being provided by Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, on Sept. 1.

Menu items include traditional and boneless chicken wings; hand-breaded chicken tenders; chicken sandwiches; and sides such as beer-battered onion rings, potato wedges and fried pickles. (Courtesy Buffalo Wild Wings)
Buffalo Wild Wings Go now open on Kuykendahl Road in Spring

Smaller than the typical Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar, the new concept offers pickup and delivery service as well as limited indoor seating.

Memorial Hermann has locations throughout the Greater Houston area, including Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. (Courtesy Memorial Hermann)
Memorial Hermann visiting policies change as COVID-19 cases rise

As of July 21, Memorial Hermann has changed its visitor policy in light of a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Greater Houston area.

Houston unemployment is above state and national levels, while home sales in the region continue to be strong, according to a July 21 economic update from the Greater Houston Partnership. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Unemployment, strong housing sales mark 2021 Houston economy, Greater Houston Partnership says

While Houston job recovery lags due to the pandemic, area home sales are strong, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

(Courtesy Blushing Ivory Bridal)
The Princess Bridal relocates, renames to Blushing Ivory Bridal in The Woodlands

The business is relocating from Old Town Spring to Oak Ridge Drive and will open Aug. 3.

In a late-night amendment addition, Harris County Commissioners Court denied an original resolution aiming to increase restrictions on nonmonetary pretrial release bonds in a split vote after hearing over two hours of public testimony July 20 for and against the resolution. The amended resolution, which was approved in a second split vote, favors focusing on criminal court backlogs and funding alternative public safety solutions. (Courtesy Pexels)
After hours of debate, Harris County commissioners oppose resolution restricting felony nonmonetary pretrial release bonds

In a late-night amendment addition, Harris County Commissioners Court denied an original resolution aiming to increase restrictions on non-monetary pretrial release bonds in a split vote after hearing over two hours of public testimony July 20 for and against the resolution.

The restaurant serves a variety of Indian appetizers, entrees and sweets. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
A1 Choice Indian Cuisine opens in Cy-Fair; Torchy's Richmond taco shop coming this week and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area, including a Ross Dress For Less store opening in Cy-Fair.