Unsurprisingly, the Astrodome will live on. Harris County Commissioners approved a $105 million repurposing plan for the Eighth Wonder of the World, which will turn the dome into a venue for Houston events.

The Astrodome Revitalization Project plans to raise the floor of the dome to ground level and build an underground 1,400-space parking garage. Additionally, nine acres of climate-controlled open space will be built above the parking garage along with rentable commercial space.

The new and improved dome would generate revenue through leasing roughly 500,000 square feet of commercial space for offices, retail, or restaurants. The parking garage is also expected to generate revenue.

The nine acres of open space is intended to host a plethora of events from conferences to festivals and according to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, “The livestock and rodeo show could use nine acres of climate controlled covered space for their food court.”

The Astrodome – the world’s first multi-purposed domed stadium – was permanently closed in 2006. In a 2013 referendum, voters opposed $217 million in bonds to turn the dome into a convention center. With this plan, unlike the 2013 referendum, Emmett says there will be no tax increase.

The plan needs final approval from the Texas Historical Commission before becoming concrete. If approved by the commission, Emmett plans to include the repurposing project in next year’s county budget with construction not commencing until after the Super Bowl.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.

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