We're bemused by the way the projected cost of building a new downtown
basketball arena for Rockets owner Les Alexander has doubled -- at least in the pages of the Chronicle, and with no explanation of why. Although it's getting hard to keep up with these things, given how every day seems to bring a different proposal/demand/threat for a new sports venue for somebody, you may remember that it was first reported in December that plans were being batted around to build Les a new downtown hoops palace for about $100 million. Last month, however, in the 41st paragraph of a front-page Chronicle story headlined "Dreams of fields may come true for Houston's teams," we learned that "rough estimates" showed a "new basketball arena could cost $150 million E." And the price tag keeps rising: in a recent Sunday column, Rockets beat writer Eddie Sefko rolled out "three functional options to settle the arena situation," one of them being a new downtown site "with all the bells and whistles" for "about $200 million." We can only assume that the cost of bells and whistles is rising faster than the cost of newsprint E Pulling the behind-the-scenes levers for John Moores in his effort to snare an Oilers replacement franchise and secure a rejiggered, football-only Astrodome are Austin consultant Bill Miller and the Vinson & Elkins law firm. Miller and V&E lawyer/ lobbyist Joe B. Allen were on opposite sides in the bidding war over the right to build the ReBates Hotel near the convention center. Miller's client, developer Wayne Duddlesten, won that one.