Ideas for a new Astrodome
The Astrodome lives another day, or at least until June 25 for now.
The County Commissioners accepted the Harris County Sports Authority’s proposal to not demolish the Astrodome and create the “New Dome Experience”.
“I’m not going to recommend or our staff does not recommend to demolish the Astrodome,” said Executive Director of the Harris Country Sports and Convention Corporation Willie Loston.
The “New Dome Experience” is estimated to cost around 194 million dollars and carries the slogan, “reimagine the possibilities, repurpose the function and reinvent the role in today’s competitive world”.
The idea is for the dome to become the greatest event center in the world.
“I really believe that Houston and Harris County will become the event capital of the world,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “There is no open space like this anywhere in the world and the fact that it’s air conditioned, protected from the weather, the possibilities are endless.”
The dome will feature 350,000 square feet of pillar free space that would be able to house any event from indoor national swim meets to conventions to football games.
The proposal will remove all of the interior seating and raise the event floor to ground level, thus stripping the arena to its bare bones. The thought of raising the floor is cost. It simply costs too much to transport patrons up and down to the lowered event floor.
“What we want the dome to become in terms of major events is the front door,” GM of the Harris Country Sports and Convention Corporation Mark Miller said. “We want everybody to go to the Super Bowl through the Astrodome. We want everyone to go to the Final Four through the Astrodome.
“It will be where you come and get greeted and have a great fan experience. You can dine; you can really do whatever the event wants you to do on your way to the game.”
Not just the interior of the dome will be transformed. The exterior will receive a make over as well. All of the ramps, ramp towers and ticket windows will be removed. The exterior will feature stores and restaurants, as well as a large green space for fans to gather before and after events.
The idea that Reliant Park is in need of parking spaces was addressed. Currently Reliant Park has 26,000 parking spots and it was said that all 26,000 spots are seldom filled for an event.
Again the estimated cost is 194 million. How that money will specifically be raised will be addressed on June 25.
“This really isn’t about saving a historic building,” Emmett said. “This is about properly using a county asset. We have an asset that is unique in the world. It would be a shame not to use that asset for everything else out here at Reliant Park and that’s what this plan does.”