The Astrodome is set to undergo a $105 million makeover.
Harris County Commissioners voted to approve a plan Tuesday that literally raises the dome floor and opens the “Eighth Wonder of the World” to potential renters.
Vacant over a decade, the dome dodged demolition. At the same time, voters denied upgrades to the historic stadium. Now, the Astrodome is on the verge of being someone’s home turf again.
The plan is to raise the dome floor two levels to make room for 1,400 parking spaces. The rest of the facility could potentially be opened for use by festivals and conferences interested in renting a half-million square feet of history.
Opened in the ‘60’s, Houston’s iconic multi-purpose dome was home to the Houston Astros and Oilers. It boasted revolutionary turf and a breath-taking atmosphere that witnessed major sporting milestones including four Muhammad Ali fights, the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match and the 1968 NCAA men’s basketball “Game of the Century.”
By 2009, however, the Astrodome sat vacant deemed unfit for use. It costs $107,000 a year to maintain. While authorities imploded the dome’s spiral ramps, a group led by Judge Ed Emmett fought to keep it standing. Proposals for the dome’s future included an indoor park and hotel space.
Though, nearly three years ago Harris County voters rejected a $217 million bond for renovations.
Last fall, county commissioners approved $10 million to design parking space under the dome’s floor.