"We really just want the people of Houston to be able to get a piece of history."
According to Reliant Center director of event services Leah Mastaglio, that's the reason for Saturday's auction of seats, Astroturf and other items that have been removed from the Astrodome as part of interior and exterior "site improvements." The project, which includes the removal of the seats and demolition of certain exterior features, needs to be done whether or not Harris County voters approve the $217-million bond issue to renovate the historic sports stadium and create the New Dome Experience.
About 800 pairs of seats are available; regular seats are $200 and four suite seats are $400. Astroturf is available in in 12-by-12 inch squares, 2-by-3 foot rectangles and 4-by-15 foot strips that could be used for a batting cage or putting green. Staff uniform vests and jackets are available for prices ranging from $15 to $50.
Among the media members getting a preview, CultureMap spotted Ryan Soroka, Alex Vassilakidis and Aaron Corso shopping for items to decorate 8th Wonder Brewery.
Everything else, including lockers, signs, player portraits, turnstiles, office furniture and AV equipment, will be auctioned off in 70 lots. A large Houston Astros signed autographed by Jose Cruz and Bob Aspromonte and an Oilers sign autographed by Texas legend Earl Campbell and Dan Pastorini look to be among the more desirable items, assuming anyone has sufficient room for them.
Mastaglio admits she has "no idea" how many people are going to show up on Saturday, but Reliant is gearing up for a big crowd. The stadium will open both the McNee and Holly Hall gates at 6 a.m. Registration begins an hour later and doors open at 8 a.m. Bidding begins at 9:30 a.m. Proceeds will be used to defray some of the costs associated with the work.
Asked about whether there will be another event to purchase other items, Mastaglio replies, "We'll evaluate after (Saturday). Maybe not an auction, but some sort of sale."
Among the media members getting a sneak preview, CultureMap spotted Ryan Soroka, Alex Vassilakidis and Aaron Corso shopping for items to decorate 8th Wonder Brewery. As supporters of the vote to save the Dome, they'd been given the chance to buy a few items ahead of the public sale.
Planning to attend? Get there early. Scattered among the signs is one that reads "Seats Sold Out." Clearly, that's going to happen, and, with only 800 pairs available, it could happen quickly.