Austin | Dallas | Houston
New Astrodome Plans

New strange Astrodome plans emerge even as the demolition begins

Places_Astrodome_aerial view
Another round of partial demolition work will strip the Astrodome of four concrete towers added in the late '80s. Photo by Jack Opatrany/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Nearly a month after voters rejected a $217 million referendum to convert the Astrodome into an exhibition center, officials continue to wrestle with how to proceed on the iconic, but decaying stadium.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, a longtime dome supporter, told reporters at Tuesday's commissioners court session that the county remains willing to consider redevelopment plans from private investors. But as preparations gear up for the 2017 Super Bowl at nearby Reliant Stadium, time is of the essence — especially considering the vacant dome's annual $2 to $3 million maintenance costs.

 He describes the project as a type of indoor park featuring man-made hills and bike paths. 

During a public remarks period, area resident Brendan Cooney announced that he has a list of unnamed corporate sponsors ready with millions to turn the Astrodome into an exercise center . . . And he only needs four months to get the money.

"I'm here today seeking a 120-day option period to re-establish the relationships with the corporations that have shown an interest in this project from the beginning," he explained. "Once you give me approval, I will walk back through that door in 120 days with at least $100 million dollars."

Cooney, a realtor who calls his proposal Get Fit Houston, plans to transform the Astrodome into "a place where Houstonians can walk, jog, and ride their bicycles in comfort and safety."

While his presentation did not include renderings, he describes the project as a type of indoor park featuring man-made hills and bike paths. He also hopes the Houston Texans will use the space as a training facility to complement their practice and training center at the other end of Reliant Park. CultureMap was unable to reach Cooney for further details.

The Dome Today

As commissioners continue to hear proposals, workers will move forward on an $8 million cleanup effort to prepare the aging dome for either demolition or preservation. An ongoing asbestos abatement project will be completed by Sept. 2014, while, on Sunday night, demo crews will remove four concrete ramp towers added to stadium in the late 1980s.

Even after November's infamous "no" vote, interest in the dome remains at an all-time high according to Emmett, who has spend nearly a decade looking for viable redevelopment solutions.

"Communication with my office has been overwhelming in terms of 'Gee, do something to save the Astrodome,'" Emmett told KUHF. "And I'm going 'OK, we've been doing this for a long time.' "

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address

Vote Now
Select CultureMap's 2015 Charity Partner

Part of our mission at CultureMap is to shine a light on all the good work Houston non-profits do to make our city a better place to live. That's why we're bringing back the CultureMap Charity Challenge presented by Yellow Cab.

Help us select our 2015 charity partner by voting once a day, every day, until February 20 at midnight.

CultureMap Houston 2015 Charity Challenge January 2015 Alzheimer's 270 by 202 pixels