Harris County Commissioners El Franco Lee and Sylvia Garcia have tentatively agreed to contribute $10 million in public money to the Dynamo stadium project, provided the team and the city agree to certain conditions, city and county officials said Tuesday.
The proposal the commissioners sent the city late Monday states the money would have to be used to build the public amenities and infrastructure serving the stadium, rather than the physical structure itself, Garcia said. That might include the water and sewer lines for the stadium, or the parking lots and tree-lined plazas surrounding it.
Other conditions include guaranteeing that Texas Southern University will be allowed to play home games at the stadium and agreeing that 15 percent of the seats will never be sold for more than than the average price of a movie ticket.
“We want to make sure that that’s included in the agreement so we won’t see a situation where the stadium is built and they focus on suites or club suites and their prices double or triple in the first few years,” Garcia said.
If the city and the Dynamo agree to the terms of the deal, Lee or Garcia would submit it for approval by the entire Commissioners Court as early as Jan. 13, Garcia said.
White spokesman Frank Michel said the offer is a “good, positive step.”
“But it’s just one of a number of steps that will have to happen before any final deal is done,” he added.
It’s a pretty big step. Approval from Commissioners Court should be a formality, since the stadium is in Lee and Garcia’s precincts. Assuming there’s no gotchas in the conditions they’ve stipulated – and they don’t look particularly onerous to me – this hurdle ought to be officially cleared. I hope the Dynamo still have financing lined up. The good news is that the price tag for construction has apparently come down a bit. Sometimes, a weak economy works in your favor.