Source: Reliant Park Master Plan
Plans for the future of the Astrodome were discussed briefly during the June 26 Harris County Commissioners Capital Improvements meeting, but no action was taken on the issue.
Last year, with funds appropriated by commissioners court and other sources, the county’s sports and convention corporation engaged with consultants to further study the organization’s master plan, focusing on the future of the Astrodome, Reliant Center and Reliant Arena.
The options outlined to commissioners during the capital improvements meeting were originally revealed during the sports convention’s May board meeting. One plan includes renovating the Astrodome into an indoor event facility for $270 million, while another option suggests replacing Reliant Arena for $385 million and converting it into a performance area, exhibition space, meeting space, parking garage and plaza.
Several of the options could be combined, including constructing the multi-purpose facility and renovating Reliant Arena, or a private sector funding project that would incorporate the multi-purpose facility option with retail, dining and entertainment options. Additionally, commissioners could decide to demolish the Astrodome and convert the grounds into an outdoor park plaza for $64 million, or do nothing with the facility that holds about $30 million in debt.
“We have a lot of people who want to keep the Astrodome, and some who want to tear down the Astrodome, but in replacing the arena, the question I think everyone will have to answer sooner or later is why would you tear down the Astrodome and build something completely new versus converting the Astrodome into a replacement of the arena?” said Judge Ed Emmett.
If commissioners move forward with the $656 million plan to renovate Reliant Arena and turn the Astrodome into a multi-purpose facility, a bond election will be necessary to fund the debt service requirements. Additional ideas for the facilities are still being welcomed by Edgar Colon, the convention's chairman, but the future timeline and decision is now up to commissioners.
“I’m sure this will be one of the weightier decisions we have to make,” Emmett said.