Developers Say They're Close to Dome Deal

A group that wants to turn the vacant Astrodome into a hotel and convention center says it's close to submitting a final proposal to Harris County. As Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, the Astrodome Redevelopment Corporation no longer has exclusive rights with the county, but is still considered the frontrunner.

Last week, Harris County Commissioners officially opened up the competition to other ideas for the Dome. They still seem open though to ARC's plan, which is four years in the making. Don Henderson is with ARC and says their plan could be submitted in as little as a week.

"We have the best proposal for the Astrodome. We have the best proposal for the taxpayers of Harris County. So I think it's more than just a feeling. I think we are very solid footing with the right plan for the Astrodome and if we can get the lease signed and agreed to by all parties, then we can
proceed with getting the final piece of this puzzle, which is our permanent financing."

Henderson says lenders have agreed in principal to loan ARC the money for the project, but a signed lease agreement would seal the deal.

"We've done all our homework. We know what we need and we know who we can get it from, but the lease agreement is a vital, absolutely essential part of this puzzle." 

The County says other ideas for the Dome have been considered. Sitting empty, the Dome still costs the County several million dollars a year to operate. 

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...