The eighth wonder

Save the Astrodome for $270 million, replace Reliant for $385 million and get the Super Bowl? Inside the big plan

Save the Astrodome for $270 million, replace Reliant for $385 million and get the Super Bowl? Inside the big plan

Reliant Plan CSL May 2012 Astrodome
Dallas-based planning firm CSL International, reimages a reconfigured Astrodome and a $385 million replacement for Reliant Arena. Courtesy of CSL International
Reliant Plan CSL May 2012 Astrodome
The revived Astrodome and adjacent replacement arena would be connected by a bridge and privately-funded hotel. Courtesy of CSL International
Reliant Plan CSL May 2012 Astrodome
If public funds are not available, CSL planning consultants recommend leveling the Astrodome and replacing it with a public plaza at a total cost of $64 million. Courtesy of CSL International
Reliant Plan CSL May 2012 Astrodome
Reliant Plan CSL May 2012 Astrodome
Reliant Plan CSL May 2012 Astrodome

Oh, Astrodome . . . what are we to do?

The results of a $500,000 study to determine the future of the decaying landmark were presented Wednesday afternoon to directors of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation (HCSCC).

Developed by Dallas-based planning firm CSL International, the report recommends renovating the current Astrodome into a multi-purpose facility and replacing Reliant Arena with a new 8,000 to 10,000-seat performance venue and exhibition hall just east of the dome. The full master plan, available here, calls for a pedestrian bridge and a privately-funded hotel connecting the two structures.

The report recommends renovating the Astrodome into a multi-purpose facility and replacing Reliant Arena with a new 8,000 t o 10,000-seat venue.

During the 40-minute presentation, which was lead by CSL president Bill Rhoda in a meeting room at the Reliant Center, the firm estimated the Astrodome repurposing will cost $270 million with the replacement arena complex running its own tab of $385 million.

In violation of countless city codes, the Eight Wonder of the World currently sits vacant as Harris County officials weigh their options. Yearly upkeep costs roughly $3 million for a stadium too outdated for 21st-century concerts and sporting events.

If public funds are not available to convert the dome into an up-to-date facility, CSL International suggests razing the structure for $64 million, a far cry from prior demolition estimates that ran closer to $120 million.

Consultants also suggested a long-range project called the Reliant Renaissance, which would further evolve the newly refurbished Astrodome into a hub of science and engineering education.

Super Bowl dreams for Reliant?

After the presentation, Edgar Colón, chairman of the board for the HCSCC, discussed the possibilities of securing the 2017 Super Bowl for Reliant Park.

“That is something that is coming up and it's on the calendar. That is the next one that is up for bid and we intend to participate forcefully and aggressively to bring the Super Bowl to Houston,” he told a group of reporters. “Obviously, we are in the preparation business and we have to start anticipating all the opportunities that are out there.”

While no formal proposal has been drafted at this time, Colón said he and the board plan to develop a detailed bid within the next six months. Houston hosted the Super Bowl at Reliant Stadium in 2004. Reliant Stadium would be the centerpiece of the 2017 bid as well — no matter what else is built.

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