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The Astrodome is not going anywhere for a while

Aug 8, 2012, 9:12 AM EDT

Image (1) Astrodome.jpg for post 6763

The Houston Astrodome has sat empty for years and has been without a professional sports team in it for a decade. It has been considered “uninhabitable” for three years.  Current estimates have it at $64 million to demolish the place and $270 million to renovate it for … something.  Either way, taxpayers still owe $29 million for construction of the near 50 year-old building.

Kind of a no-brainer here, I’d say: blow the sucker up. Or, rather, tear it down (apparently it’s too close to other buildings to implode).  But that’s not happening anytime soon:

Harris County voters may get a say in what happens to the Astrodome, but they will not get it this year.

The last day Commissioners Court can place a referendum on the November ballot is Aug. 20, according to county attorneys. The court’s Tuesday meeting was its last scheduled before that date, and no mention of the Dome was on the agenda.

“The economic situation is just not favorable at this time to be able to step in and get people to invest big money,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said. “I don’t think there’s a quick fix for our economy, and I don’t think there’s a quick fix for the Dome.”

So it sits and rusts. Another monument to the stupidity of the public sector underwriting toys for private businessmen.

  1. nolanwiffle - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    That was one great stadium in its day.

    • tcostant - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      We can thank them for Astroturf; wait he like real grass, Good writtens!

      • heyblueyoustink - Aug 8, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        Riddance, unless you were giving positive reinforcement to your genetically merged wren and kitten creature.

  2. mybrunoblog - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    So much for the 8th wonder of the world. Wouldn’t it have been smart to decide the fate of the old ballpark before they built the new one? Nice job Houston.

  3. flyerscup2010 - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    sell it like the pontiac silverdome?

    • sportsdrenched.com - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      Great Idea! Now, who you gonna sell it to? What profitable endeavor could be housed in the Astrodome to which you could entice a potential buyer?

      I’m sure no one in Houston has thought about these things.

      • flyerscup2010 - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        Pontiac put the Silverdome up for auction, and it sold to a foreign dude for the starting bid price. Pontiac’s only aim was to eliminate operating costs from their city budget. I tend to think Houston would be interested in merely having the problem off of their hands and into a private developer’s hands, especially if the private developer can use the land for something else and generate tax revenue.

      • gloccamorra - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        They could sell it to a professional soccer team! That sport is exploding in popularity all over the country.

  4. lorddarkhelmet - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    It never should have been financed for longer than 20-30 yrs which is the usable time frame for these kinds of buildings

  5. stex52 - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    The money is owed for a major renovation in the ’90′s. The issue is a political hot potato. No one wants to spend the money to renovate and no one has thought of a use that really promises that much of a return. But there is a lot of emotion still invested in the old facility. Kind of out of character for a town that usually prides itself on business bottom lines and practicality. They won’t fix it up, but none of the the county commisioners wants to be known as “The Man Who Killed the Dome.”

    BTW, local contract demo groups say that the demo number is way too high and that you could implode with the right planning. But keeping the estimate so high is a convenient fiction to keep them from having to take any action.

    I will miss the Dome. Many great times there. But it is rapidly becoming an eyesore.

    • Old Gator - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      I say keep it standing until they finish filming the remake of Brewster McCloud. Then airlift it with hundreds of those gigantic Russian freight helicopters and drop it on the Tropicana Dump – you know like pushing Quasimodo off the ledge at Notre Dame so that he lands on Kevin Youkilis. Let’s kill two birds with one stone.

  6. kiwicricket - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Too close to other buildings to implode? The pic shows a little wiggle room.

    Whip the lid off, fill it with water. New city reservoir(or a giant new effluent treatment pond)

    • istillbelieveinblue - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Right, because 50 year old football stadiums are watertight enough to hold millions of gallons of water. :)

      • Francisco (FC) - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        Did you not see the sarcasm font?

      • istillbelieveinblue - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        Yes, but did YOU? :P

    • cur68 - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Tut-tut: covered, 24hour, all automated golf driving range. It would print money.

  7. raysfan1 - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    It’s right next to Reliant Stadium, where the Houston Texans play football. I’ve seen implosions done in more congested areas.

    There seems to be a lot of nostalgia for the place, so maybe they can convert it into a concert and convention center or something.

    • Old Gator - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      If you’ve been watching the Feesh this season you’ve seen massive implosion that didn’t even knock the pasties off the salsa dancers in the Clevelander.

  8. heyblueyoustink - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Make it a rave,

  9. kopy - Aug 8, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    The Stade Olympique has the same problem. It cost a boatload to build, and now it would be too expensive to take it down. And, they can’t even get decent use of it despite the city having a MLS and CFL team in smaller venues

  10. danielcp0303 - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Blow it up and bring back Astroworld

  11. buddydeath - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    They can’t sell it out right because there are major complications with parking leases. The Texans and Houston Livestock and Rodeo each have leases so how do they rebuild the dome without making the Texans and the Rodeo pissed?

  12. kevinbnyc - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    I thought I had read that asbestos was involved, which inflated the cost to tear it down properly and made it unimplodable?

  13. spudatx - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    That thing will stand there as-is until there is reason to develop the land. Right now, I’d be shocked if anyone was expressing interest in that land.

  14. gloccamorra - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Why is it considered “uninhabitable”? Air conditioning broke down? All the toilets backed up? Structurally unsound? The asbestos flaking? Haunted by Judge Roy Hofheinz? The answer to that question is the key to the solution.

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