Back in August, Commissioners’ Court approved a plan by the Astrodome Redevelopment folks to secure financing for their much-touted Dome Hotel. They were supposed to have that in hand by March of this year. Well, as Tom and Houstonist have noted, that ain’t happened yet.
Scott Hanson, president with Astrodome Redevelopment, found a New York bank interested in backing the mammoth development. County officials were not satisfied with the commitment as presented.
[. . .]
Says Hanson: “It’s happening. It’s just a timing issue. Sometimes the wheels don’t turn as fast as we’d like them to.”
[. . .]
The developer wants to enter into a definitive agreement with the county this year on the project, and hopes to begin construction by early 2008.
“I think that’s probably aggressive,” says Mike Surface, chairman of the Sports & Convention Corp.
“These projects wind up taking a lot more time than you anticipate,” he adds. “There are still a lot of approvals that have to take place.”
[. . .]
“We’ve come a long way … but there is a long way between now and getting a deal inked,” Surface says. “For people to start booking their rooms today is a bit premature.”
I thought they had some momentum going back in August, but apparently not. I wonder, now that Robert Eckels no longer has to worry about being “the man who tore down the Astrodome”, if this will be the beginning of the end for the Dome. Maybe the financing will come through in the next few months, but if not, then what? I consider myself a preservationist, and I don’t relish the thought of destroying one of Houston’s icons, but at some point Harris County needs to stop being responsible for its upkeep. How that happens will depend on whether Astrodome Redevelopment succeeds or fails.