A backup plan for the AstrodomeMost of you probably caught the story yesterday about the Texans and Rodeo coming out against the Astrodome redevelopment plan into a convention mega-hotel. The key problem is that they have veto power, so I'm sure they strung the whole process along as far as they could to maximize their negotiating leverage, waiting until ARC had sunk a lot of money and time into a plan and getting financing. I've questioned the economics of this thing before, and I'm sure whatever the Texans and Rodeo demanded made the deal even more untenable. At this juncture, there seem to be only three possible ways the deal will get done:
- ARC finds a way to throw enough money at them they drop their opposition
- Public outrage at the "Astrodome wreckers" worries the Texans/Rodeo enough that they back down, fearing a collapse in fan/customer support (the Rodeo seems particularly susceptible to this)
- Behind the scenes arm-twisting by city and county power brokers, esp. on the Rodeo board of directors
The Astrodome is clearly a historic structure. It even has its own MySpace page with a great chronology of that history. The problem is, people seem to think it's either this hotel or the wrecking ball, and I don't believe that to be true. I've articulated my low-cost, low-risk plan before as a climate-controlled weekend festival dome, along with an array of speakers and classes. It would cost very little, and almost certainly bring it more than enough money from parking alone to cover the annual maintenance cost. Even if it's only an interim strategy until a mega-makeover deal can be put together, it's a heck of a lot better option than tearing it down. Please, if you know any of the decision-makers involved (like the County Commissioners), please pass this post along. Thanks.
Update: Alison Cook at the Chronicle suggests a food market inside the Astrodome modeled on the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.