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Astrodome awarded historic designation –but it probably won’t change anything

Astrodome construction

The Houston Astrodome has been added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service, a designation that probably won’t affect its fate.

The Register doesn’t carry any specific protections: Harris County can certainly go ahead and tear down the Astrodome if commissioners sees fit. But designation does carry some financial rewards to a developer: a 20 percent federal tax credit for investments, as well as savings on the state franchise tax. However, these rewards are pretty meaningless to Harris County, unless a private developer is brought in.

Right now the fate of the Astrodome is in limbo. Last fall Harris County voters rejected a $217-million renovation plan for the first covered stadium used in professional sports. The vote wasn’t particularly close — 53 percent against, 47 percent for — as area residents seem willing to say goodbye to what was billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World when it opened in 1965. But with a price tag of $78 million to tear down the Astrodome, county officials are in no hurry to make a decision on its fate.

We discussed the proposal on NPR’s Marketplace.

RELATED STORIES: Astrodome renovation plan shot down by voters; Fate of Astrodome again under debate in HoustonFuture of Astrodome: Three scenariosAstros turn back the clock this season to mark Astrodome openingIs Houston angling to close Astrodome?


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