Harris County officials have approved a $105 million renovation to the Astrodome, bringing some certainty to the venerable structure’s future.
The former home of the Houston Astros, the Astrodome is set to be converted into a multipurpose indoor event space. Discussions about whether or not to preserve the Astrodome have been unfolding for years, but Tuesday’s decision by the Harris County Commissioners Court allows the latest concept for a renovation to move forward.
The vote taken by commissioners was to approve the final design and construction of the project, which is currently slated to begin this fall and be completed in 2020. More from The Houston Chronicle:
The emerging enthusiasm comes as Harris County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with the final design and construction of a $105 million project to transform the cherished piece of Houston’s sporting history into what officials hope will be coveted event space.
“It gives us a huge national story line,” said Holly Clapham, chief marketing officer for Houston First Corp., the city’s main marketing arm. “This, obviously, is a very significant building and we can tell the story of its new life, and serving a new constituency that didn’t know it as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World.'”
Construction on the project is expected to begin in October and end in February 2020.
“The first thing we have to do is get it back to where it’s structurally sound,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said after Tuesday’s court meeting. “Nine acres of open space, under cover, in Houston, Texas, is a big deal. We’ve already been contacted by all sorts of groups that want to come use it, so it’s exciting.”
Over the years, the discussion over the future of the Astrodome has taken many twists and turns. While it was used for some events for a few years following the team’s departure, it has not hosted a full-time professional sports franchise since the Astros left for a new ballpark following the 1999 season. In 2009, the Houston fire marshal’s office decided that the structure was unfit for occupancy, while a 2013 referendum for a $217-million bond issue for renovations was rejected by Harris County voters.
The Astrodome originally opened in 1965, and was known to many as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
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