Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Another key boost for Houston stadium project
by Ridge Mahoney, April 13th, 2010 9:22PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  houston dynamo, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[HOUSTON]Anybody who watched the second leg of the Western Conference final between Houston and Seattle at Robertson Stadium last fall knows why the Dynamo needs its own stadium. Sounders midfielder Freddie Ljungberg disdainfully called the field a “sandbox.” When asked if the surface was at its worst on that day, a member of the Dynamo organization replied, “It’s always bad, maybe not that terrible, but bad.”

The final piece for a Dynamo stadium located near downtown Houston fell into place Tuesday when the Harris County Commissioners Court approved a deal by which the county will contribute $17.5 million to a project estimated to cost $95 million. Last week, the Houston City Council agreed to pay an equal amount, with the Dynamo ownership – a joint operation of Anschutz Entertainment Group and a consortium headed by boxer Oscar De La Hoya and business partner Gabriel Brener – kicking in $60 million.

“This is a very important day,” Dynamo president/general manager Oliver Luck told mlssoccer.com. Before joining the Dynamo, Luck was CEO of the Harris County Houston Sports Authority, which will manage stadium operations. “This process has been going on for a number of months, and there is now a framework to go forward. This is a great day for folks in the East End, for folks who care about future development in the city, for soccer fans, and for Dynamo fans.”

Still to be negotiated is a lease agreement between the Dynamo and the Sports Authority, which runs Minute Maid Park (MLB Astros), Reliant Stadium (NFL Texans) and Toyota Center (NBA Rockets). The city and county must also formally approve the creation of redevelopment zones by which future increases in tax receipts in those zones will pay off some of the project’s costs. The city and county will co-own the stadium and the surrounding land, which is on the eastern edge of downtown Houston, near Minute Maid Park.

The county will pay $10 million in redevelopment zone tax revenues to the project and reimburse the city one-half of the $15 million paid for the parcels of land where the stadium will be built.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October and be completed in time for the opening of the MLS season in 2012. The Dynamo would still share a facility, as it now does at Robertson with the University of Houston football team, as home games for Texas Southern University would be played there. But the Dyanmo would be the primary tenant and control elements such as maintenance as well as receive a majority share of revenues.

Critics of the deal point to debt-service payments for renovations of the Astrodome that the county is still paying off. That facility lost its two major tenants, the NFL Oilers (1996) and Astros (1999), more than a decade ago, yet debt payments will continue for the next two decades. Homeowners have cited concerns about congestion and declining property values.

The agreement comes more than two years after De La Hoya and Brener bought a half-share of the Dynamo, which moved to Houston from San Jose at the behest of AEG after the 2005 season. Efforts to kick-start a stadium project ran into political tangles: former Mayor Bill White adamantly opposed the use of any of the city’s general-fund money, and his attempts to persuade investment by the county stalled. Upon taking office in January, Mayor Annise Parker initiated meetings with Commissioners Court members to revive the project.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Guus Huddink    
"If you have done some judo and wrestling, you can easily fall. Even at my age, ...
Video Pick: Big goalkeeper blooper punished with volley    
In the German Bundesliga 2, first-place Freiburg led last-place Paderborn, 2-0, when goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow shanked ...
Making a List: U.S. Copa Centenario representation    
A total of 59 players representing 27 teams in the MLS, NASL and USL were named ...
Copa Centenario: Complete preliminary rosters    
The preliminary 40-player rosters for the 16 teams competing this summer's Copa Centenario were released. These ...
Copa Centenario: Jamaica has heavy U.S. influence    
Other than the USA with 19 players, all in MLS, no team has more players based ...
What They're Saying: Afghani Mohammad Arif Ahmadi    
"I sold all my belongings and brought my family out of Afghanistan to save my son's ...
Crowd Count: NASL openers down 37 percent    
Only two of the nine returning NASL teams -- its two Canadian teams, Ottawa and FC ...
MLS Rookie Watch: Three make immediate impact    
Jordan Morris is just one of three rookies who have been starting regularly since the start ...
Jordan Morris heeds advice from new Sounders sage    
It took six games before rookie Jordan Morris scored his first MLS goal, but he hasn't ...
What They're Saying: Bangkok monk assistant Korpsin Uiamsa-ard    
"They wear Leicester's white away-game jerseys and chant its name while watching the game." -- Korpsin ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives