Dome financing comes through

The Astrodome Redevelopment crew, who missed a March 31 deadline to demonstrate that they had private financing lined up, then got an extension till the end of May, managed to put something together this time.

“We felt like we complied” with the deadline, Astrodome Redevelopment president Scott Hanson said. “We submitted a package with our financing.”

Willie Loston, director of the Harris County Sports & Convention Corp., which oversees Reliant Park, said he and other county officials could not say whether Astrodome Redevelopment complied because they haven’t had time to review the company’s submission.

Loston said he and Mike Surface, chair of the sports and convention corporation, will review the submission in the coming days. They will report to the sports and convention corporation’s board on the issue at its mid-June meeting.

“We felt like we complied” doesn’t exactly sound like a fully confident pronouncement to me, but we’ll see what the county folks think. I’m very curious to see who might be willing to invest in this potentially very white elephant.

Related matter:

Astrodome Redevelopment has discussed building a ramp connecting the hotel parking lot to Loop 610 so hotel traffic wouldn’t interfere with other events at Reliant Park.

The company discussed whether taxes generated by the hotel could be used to pay for the ramp and possibly other infrastructure improvements needed to operate the facility.

But a proposal to rebate the facility’s hotel and sales taxes to the county died in the Legislature last month.

“Any bill that would have helped fund the infrastructure would have been beneficial,” Hanson said. “It was disappointing.”

The bill’s death meant that Astrodome Redevelopment could no longer include contingent plans for some public financing for infrastructure, Hanson said. “We’ve gone with a different package,” he said.

Loston said, “Today, this is a 100 percent privately financed project.”

Hat tip to Miya Shay for calling that one last week.

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