What Will Houston Do With The Astrodome?

The old building faces a bleak future.

In 1965, the Houston Astrodome was called the eighth wonder of the world. In 2019, it has been an empty facility since 1999. It needs to be renovated or torn down. The tearing down aspect probably is not going to work as the building has received Texas antiquity landmark status. It is staying up because it once was a one of a kind facilities. People just don’t know what to do with a relic from a bygone era. The first domed baseball and football facility. On Election Day, 2013, Harris County, Texas voters turned down a funding idea that would have renovated the then 48-year-old Houston Astrodome which is empty these days. The dome was supposed to last forever. There is a $105 million plan to do something with the facility but the renovation work is on hold.

Roy Hofheinz got the Astrodome built in the early 1960s when he owned Major League Baseball’s Houston Colt 45s. Hofheinz “invented” the luxury box and changed the way people viewed sports. The Astrodome had everything needed in a new and modern ballpark. It had air conditioning. It was paid for by the taxpayers. It had “comfortable cushioned, upholstered seating” and a $2 million animated scoreboard. The only thing it didn’t have was growing grass and that problem would be solved in 1966 with the creation of Astroturf. Hofheinz figured out people would attend games just to be seen, and if people in the box chose to do so, they could watch the game on closed-circuit TV. But Houston’s support of the Astros was lukewarm. A bankrupt Hofheinz sold the Astros in 1976. The NFL’s Oilers owner Bud Adams was not happy in the place and moved his team to Tennessee in 1997. Another Houston facility for baseball’s Astros opened in 2000. Stadiums and arenas are not forever.

American League starting pitcher Justin Verlander, of the Houston Astros, throws during the first inning of the MLB baseball All-Star Game against the National League, Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)