Plans are finally moving forward on Houston's aging Astrodome, but not everyone appears to be on-board with the latest proposal to spend $194 million in re-purposing the former “Eighth Wonder of the World” into a giant expo center.
That's the plan announced by the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation which will pass it on to Commissioners Court during next week's capital improvements meeting.
“This will really make Houston and Harris County the event capitol of the world,” Judge Ed Emmett told KTRH host Matt Patrick. “There is no other event space anywhere in the world which could match this.”
However, Tim Trae Tindall with 3TFunding argues Houston already has more than enough convention space.
“The George R. Brown is a world-class facility next to a world-class baseball stadium as well as a basketball stadium multi-use for hockey and other events, the fantastic Discovery Green park is right there,” Tindall tells KTRH News.
Tindall's group is tasked with securing private investment for a collaboration which wants to instead turn the stadium into a business incubator. He says the Sports & Convention Corporation's plan actually gives him more time to seek that private funding.
“This really isn't about saving an iconic building,” said Emmett. “This is about maximizing the use of a county asset which the taxpayers have put a lot of money into.”
Tindall argues that is exactly why the Astrodome should be placed in private hands.
“Government owned 'business enterprises' just do not have a fraction of the efficiency and profitability as when it is done in the private sector,” he says.
Self-proclaimed Houstorian James Glassman disagrees, saying he actually thinks the county is headed in the right direction. Though he supported a stripped down skeleton of the Astrodome which would have served as a park with music pavilion, Glassman admits an expo center would generate needed revenue.