Earlier this week, the Houston Dynamo moved one step closer to securing their downtown crib. Well, maybe.
On March 1, the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority announced that it create a task force to look into possibly taking on a limited administrative role on the Dynamo stadium. Huh?
To understand what exactly is going on, Hair Balls went to the man who knows these things. In comes Dynamo President and General Manager Oliver Luck -- who just happens to be a former employee of HCHSA.
As we all know by now, the City of Houston bought six blocks of land on the East End, a stone's throw away from Minute Maid Park. If the city and county throw in $10 million apiece into the pot that is the Dynamo stadium project, they would own the property jointly -- like a married couple. Then, they would give HCHSA a 40-year lease to run the place.
"So the Sports Authority would be in control of that dirt," Luck explained. "As a result, [the Dynamo] would enter into a lease agreement with the Sports Authority to lease that dirt and build a stadium on it."
The Dynamo put the price tag on their new crib at around $80 million. The team will put in $60 million for the construction of the stadium, with the rest coming from that $10 million apiece that the city and county would put in -- with money from TIRZ 15. And oh yeah, let's not forget that million dollar contribution from Texas Southern University.
Now, HCHSA won't be contributing a penny to this project. Like most of the country -- and this writer -- they are a bit strapped for cash these days. They've got three mortgages to pay for; and while the teams that call those places home are making money, none of them have yet to win any championships.
Well, the Rockets have the two championships, but that was in their old home, which is now a house of God -- or Joel Osteen.
While Luck acknowledges that getting HCHSPA involved is a positive step forward, he's still waiting for the city and county to make their contributions. Then there was the news that came out a couple of weeks ago. It appeared that, like Tiger Woods, the Dynamo had someone else on the side. Reports surfaced that there was the possibility of a stadium on the southwest corner of 610 and the Southwest Freeway, just south of the Galleria.
While Luck said it was "an interesting piece of property, who wouldn't want to be that close to the Galleria," it was just a possibility. The idea was brought forward by Midway Companies, the developer that owns that particular land. Luck told them that studies of the area -- traffic, infrastructure, etc. -- would have to be done, and that would cost money the team doesn't want to pay at this moment.
Luck and company still has their sights set on the center of the city, but didn't rule out a move to Uptown.
"We've been at this now for a while, and if we come to a point that it's obvious to us that for any reason, without pointing any fingers, if this can't get done, then I think we'll have to look at other locations. But right now, we're focused on the East End/ Downtown site."
There is one interesting note to this story, a time factor that all parties involved should have on their minds. The Go USA Bid Committee, which is the entity that is bidding for the FIFA World Cup to come back to the US in 2018 or 2022, is still in the process of selecting the cities that would potentially host a game.
Any World Cup game would be played in an NFL or collegiate stadium, in Houston's case, Reliant Stadium. Working in Houston's favor is that fact that two owners of the Dynamo are on the committee.
However, Luck did say, "If they don't think the city appreciates soccer, then I can very easily see them decide that Houston doesn't deserve a World Cup game.
"All the major markets have one of these; we are the largest city without a soccer venue for an MLS team. That doesn't go unnoticed, I'll just say that."
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