The Sports & Convention Corporation hosted a news conference Monday to present the broad outlines of three possible plans for the 45-year-old Astrodome and 35-year-old Reliant Arena:
• Reliant Park Plaza plan: Raze the Dome for $128 million; replace Reliant Arena and make other improvements to park; build a hotel (with no public money) with as many as 1,500 rooms. Total price tag of $873 million.
• Astrodome Multipurpose: Gut the Dome and add a new level of floor space, a science and technology center, a planetarium, solar panels on the roof that form a world map for $324 million to $374 million; keep other elements of plaza plan. Total price tag of $1.08 billion to $1.13 billion.
• Astrodome Renaissance: Multipurpose plan plus add more Astrodome features, including conference space, a series of interactive exhibits that would allow users to simulate space travel and deep sea exploration, museums, an alternative energy center and a movie studio. The Astrodome portion would cost $588 million. Total price tag of $1.35 billion.
Mark Miller, general manager of Reliant Park, called the last option “the dream picture,” and said, “This is where we would like to go with the property.”
You can see more of the options, and give your feedback, here. There’s no mention of a privately-financed hotel there for Option 1, just green space as we originally heard. I guess once you have the green space, whatever you intend to use it for, you can wait around for a private-financing Prince Charming to come along at your leisure.
[County Judge Ed] Emmett favors minimal improvements to the Dome that would essentially convert it into an indoor fairgrounds.
“(A) middle option preserves the Dome but doesn’t lock us into a major cost item,” Emmett said. It buys time, too, for the possibility of a private developer coming along with a proposal to lease the Dome for a grander project.
That’s Option 2 on the Reliant Park webpage. I don’t quite understand the disconnect between what was presented at the press conference and what they’re actually soliciting feedback on, but this option has some appeal to me as well. Hair Balls has more, including the obligatory comments from people who don’t quite grasp the difference between city and county government, and who apparently missed the bit about these plans needing to be voted on by the public.
UPDATE: Swamplot has more.