After today's Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation board meeting -- and pending acceptance from Harris County Commissioners Court -- the Reliant Astrodome will become a multipurpose spot with the potential for hosting concerts and, yes, football.
Now, don't get your hopes up too high. While the Astrodome's outer shell isn't going anywhere, the inside floor would be raised to street level to create a 300,000-square-foot performance area.
That means capacity will be severely decreased -- 5,500 for a hockey game, 5,000 for high-school basketball tournaments and 15,500 for football, which, for the circa 1996 Oilers, would have been a badass turnout.
If the $270.3 million project gets the thumbs-up by Harris County Commissioners Court, the HCSCC board hopes to get the proposed plan on the ballot for a public vote. If it passes, officials may try to lure the 2016 Final Four and the 2017 Super Bowl to the improved digs.
The master report also includes the demolition and replacement of Reliant Arena, which will cost an estimated $385.4 million.
The cost to taxpayers for the Astrodome overhaul and a new 10,000-seat Reliant Arena has been pegged at $523 million.
Obviously missing, to the chagrin of local television station cameramen -- who later looked dejected as they filed out of the Reliant Center meeting room -- was a grand unveiling of artist renderings. Aside from bar graphs and cost breakdowns, the only other visual was of bored HCSCC board members.
There had been talks by project consultants about massively renovating the Astrodome to include retail and art-centric outlets like museums. But during the firm's analysis, such amenities would have cost an additional $115 million to pull off.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.